Annual Thanksgiving dinner in Elgin hoping for more donations

 
 
Updated 11/15/2018 6:52 PM
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  • Jeff Turner dropped off 100 turkeys Thursday at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. The staff will cook them and carve them for the annual free Thanksgiving dinner next week.

    Jeff Turner dropped off 100 turkeys Thursday at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. The staff will cook them and carve them for the annual free Thanksgiving dinner next week. Courtesy of Jeff Turner

Organizers of the annual free Thanksgiving dinner in Elgin hope people will donate the remaining $1,200 to make their $3,000 fundraising goal.

The dinner takes place 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 22 at First United Methodist Church, 216 E. Highland Ave. in Elgin.

Organizer Jeff Turner said he dropped off 100 turkeys Thursday at Grand Victoria Casino, where the staff will cook them and carve them.

"We will pick them up next Wednesday. All we have to do is heat them back up that day," he said.

The turkeys were donated by Food for Friends, a Chicago-based Christian ministry, Turner said. The dinner also will include about 600 pounds of potatoes, 300 pounds of sweet potatoes, 25 pans of green bean casserole and 25 pans of stuffing, he said.

The event wouldn't happen without an army of volunteers, including chef Ryan Waesche, Neile Litton, Teresa Mascote and Eric Rubin, he said.

Turner also organizes free community dinners for Christmas, Valentine's Day and back-to-school in summer. The Thanksgiving dinner is the most expensive one, he said.

Turner started by helping out in 2007 at an annual dinner serving the homeless at an Elgin church. He took over the event the next year and turned it into a communitywide dinner.

"My vision has always been to bring the community together," he said. "And when I say community, I mean everybody. I don't want stigmas attached to people, whether you're homeless or you make $100,000."

Turner is the president of Dream Foods, whose network comprises In the Neighborhood Deli & Cafe inside Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Ave. Dessert donations -- both homemade and store-bought -- can be dropped off at the cafe until 8:30 p.m. Nov. 21 or after 9 a.m. Nov. 22 at the church.

The nonprofit Elgin Community Network serves as the fiscal agent for the community dinners, Turner said. Checks can be made out to Elgin Community Network, with "Together We're Elgin" in the memo line, and mailed to Jeff Turner/ Together We're Elgin, 51 S. Grove Ave., Elgin IL 60120.

For more information visit facebook.com/togetherelgin or email togetherwereelgin@gmail.com.

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