Valentine’s dinner needs a late boost
Residents have shown again and again how generous they are to those in need, says Jeff Turner of In The Neighborhood Deli. He is hoping he can rely on more of that generous spirit to ensure a successful Have a Heart dinner on Sunday.
This is the second annual free Valentine’s Day dinner spearheaded by Turner, part of four annual dinners — Have a Heart, two summer cookouts and the community Thanksgiving Dinner — held at the Hemmens Cultural Center. While funds for the Valentine’s dinner have started coming in, Turner said, “I am still accepting, to be on the safe side.”
He needs between $1,500 and $2,000 to feed the 1,000 people expected at the event, set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. He admits, however, that some crossed communication wires put him under the gun to ensure enough funds to pull off the event. A fraternal organization had agreed to fund the winter dinner event, he said, but “in translation and communication, I dropped the ball” and the organization could not get him the money in time. “Now I am behind the 8-ball. It is not that people don’t want to give … I am just starting really late.”
He does have much of the food already. The South Elgin Lions Club donated 350 pounds of turkey, which Turner is turning into turkey tetrazzini. His food broker, Real Foods, gave Turner 60 pounds of ham that he is turning into a ham, cheese and potato bake. Also on the menu are vegetables, sweet potatoes, bread, beverages and dessert.