'Extra special' community dinner Saturday in Elgin dedicated to late volunteer
The organizer of a free community dinner Saturday in Elgin is hoping for more donations and volunteers for an "extra special" event dedicated to his late longtime friend.
The "Have a Heart" dinner is dedicated to Anthony Pedote, an active community volunteer who died at 46 in April 2017 after a long illness. Pedote helped plan and cook the yearly community dinners organized by Jeff Turner and came up with the "pasta gravy cook-off" theme for the dinners that take place around Valentine's Day, Turner said.
Local businesses and organizations bring pasta gravy, or sauce -- everything else is supplied on site -- and their culinary prowess is judged by the attendees. Last year's event was canceled last year due to weather, Turner said, so this is the first one happening after Pedote's death.
"Have a Heart" takes place 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church, 216 E. Highland Avenue, Elgin. Turner hopes people will drop off store-bought dessert at the church after 9 a.m. the day of the event. Volunteers can work two-hour shifts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Turner also organizes dinners for St. Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a summer barbecue. The events are free to everyone regardless of income or housing status.
The nonprofit Elgin Community Network serves as the 501(c)3 fiscal agent for the community dinners.
To donate money, go to dreamfoodsco.com/get-involved or mail a check made out to Elgin Community Network, with "Together We're Elgin" in the memo line, to Jeff Turner, Dream Hall, 51 S. Grove Ave., Elgin IL 60120. Leftover funds will go toward future community dinners, Turner said.
For more information or to enter the cook off, visit facebook.com/togetherelgin or email firstname.lastname@example.org.