At Elgin Vineyard we have a heart for the homeless and others who find themselves in need—this was the top reason we prioritized a downtown address in 2009 when we were looking to purchase a new church home.
Currently, we have two main outreaches to the homeless/low-income community:
For individuals without the means to provide food for themselves, there is always a meal to be had. Lunch is available daily at Elgin Wayside Center, and with seven local churches hosting dinner, the Elgin Soup Kettle program ensures an evening meal.
Breakfast is at the Vineyard. Hot breakfast is served in the colder months, and in the summer we distribute bagged brunch—a couple of sandwiches, along with fruit and other treats. We do this every weekday morning, Monday through Friday; exceptions are major holidays, when other community organizations often put out a special holiday feast.
Over the past 15 to 20 years, through the combined efforts of partnering churches and businesses, this ministry has served something like 200,000 individual meals! Besides satisfying physical hunger, our leaders interact regularly with the breakfast crowd at a personal level and look for ways to satisfy spiritual cravings, too.
Designed to minister to the same community—homeless and low-income persons—Street Reach represents a step up from breakfast, in both physical and spiritual nourishment. Street Reach takes place every Friday night in our Community Room. As the chef and other volunteers put the finishing touches on a wonderful dinner, our leaders kick off the evening program, usually including teaching, discussion and prayer.
Sometimes we have special activities, like decorating a Christmas tree with ornaments made by Street Reach guests. Sometimes we have live music; in fact, a brand-new Street Reach Band is in rehearsals and hopes to be ready for an audience soon!
Our desire is always to affirm each person’s dignity and lift people up with the Word and the life-giving, life-changing promises of God.
Street Reach meets fall, winter and spring. Doors open to the Community Room at 6 p.m., and dinner is served about 6:30. All are welcome, and it’s free.