Free pre-Thanksgiving meals offered Wednesday at Woodstock train station for anyone in need

Organizers hope to serve more than the 100 fed last year; coats, hats, gloves, camping gear also to be provided

Free pre-Thanksgiving meal offered noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023, at the Woodstock train station, 90 Church Street.

On Wednesday afternoon, a free pre-Thanksgiving luncheon will again be provided at the Woodstock train depot to anyone experiencing homelessness or who “could use a hot meal and some good company,” organizers said.

This is the second year the meals have been provided at the Metra station, located at 90 Church Street, through efforts of Warp Corps, MBI Cares, Isabel’s Family Restaurant, and Napoli’s Pizza, all located in Woodstock.

This year’s menu, offered from noon until 4 p.m., similar to last year, will include fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables from Isabel’s and pizza from Napoli Pizza Place, said Rob Mutert, founder of Warp Corps.

Last year they fed more than 100 visitors and Mutert said they hope to feed more this year.

This year’s event also will offer handouts of warm coats, 30 brand-new winter jackets for adults and children, as well as miscellaneous supplies for the unhoused such as hats, gloves, hand warmers, fuel for camping stoves and table heaters and water.

“Donations are coming in and we really appreciate this,” Mutert said.

This year’s event also will include live music provided by Davis “Jukebox” James.

MBI Cares is the primary sponsor of this effort.

State Rep. Steven Reick also donated funds to this year’s event.

Mutert encourages anyone in need to attend and learn about outreach and prevention based services offered for the community.

Tom Wilson, retired owner of MBI, Hard Wire Investments and White Oak, said he expects the day will “go great.”

Wilson said there is “a lot of good energy” surrounding the luncheon. There will be plenty of food for all who attend and he encourages people to take food home.

He also hopes to continue with such opportunities to serve the community.

“The need is higher than ever,” Wilson said. “My involvement in anything is to create motivation for others to also get involved, and work with as many programs as I can in McHenry County.”

Wilson hopes to keep this event “going on every year for many, many years to come.”

He also encourages others to host such events throughout the year, not only during the holidays.

“The truth is we need this passion all year long, every day,” Wilson said. “I know it’s tough, businesses are struggling, families are struggling. ... The truth is, that is when we have to knuckle down.”