This past Friday, Good Friday, I was invited to photograph a beautiful ministry event held each Friday at The Chapel, McHenry. It's called "Food Truck Friday," but it isn't what you might think. 

When I arrived at the Chapel McHenry, I assumed I was photographing a sort of "restaurant on wheels" event, but when I walked inside and to the back, I witnessed more than a dozen kind and selfless volunteers stocking the shelves of a weekly held food pantry. The food is brought in on FOOD TRUCKS from the Northern Illinois Food Bank and various local grocery stores for those in need in our area. Not only does this ministry serve 100 - 120 families per week, but they also offer to pack and deliver to those who do not have the means of traveling due to cancer treatments or various disabilities.

Deb Heath - First Church Friday Food Coordinator

I met with Deb Heath, who has been in charge of orchestrating the Friday Food Truck event for the past ten years. She explained to me that what began in her church, First Church in Crystal Lake, IL, as a way of serving the community has outgrown and moved a few different times over the years. After being struck with Covid restrictions and being forced to change and adapt, she reached out to The Chapel McHenry who welcomed the ministry with open arms. Since moving to the Chapel, Food Truck Friday has been able to install industrial refrigerators and freezers to help with the week-to-week carry-over, as well as establish a drive-thru system that allows their guests to safely stay in their vehicles as volunteers do the hard work of "shopping" for them. The guests are given a shopping list to complete with their food and other non-perishable needs (dietary and other restrictions included). They also share how many people are in their household (young and mature) to be sure the volunteer selects enough for everyone. The guest can then sit back and wait while the volunteer shops, packs, and delivers the items to their vehicle.

"We never run out! Every week we empty our shelves to those in need and God fills them the next week." - Deb Heath

What may seem like an emotionally difficult way to give back, was rather upbeat! Those stocking and shopping in the pantry were dancing to music, joking, laughing, and carrying about like old friends who simply meet each week. Perhaps they are old friends and I'm just new! HA! If you or someone you know is looking for a fulfilling way to serve in the church and community, please reach out to First Church in Crystal Lake or The Chapel McHenry for volunteer opportunities such as this. If volunteering is not your thing but you would still like to help with donations, you can do so by donating directly to the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, IL. Be sure to note in the memo line that your donation is for "FIRST CHURCH FRIDAY- AGENCY #1019A."


The Chapel McHenry hosts a homeless shelter for those in need. The remaining food items from the food pantry each week, are prepared and cooked by the PADS resident chef and served to those staying at the facility. Nothing goes to waste.