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Shelter Seeks Help for Increase in Homeless Children

PEORIA - Since opening its emergency shelter last year, Andy King and the DreamCenter have met their fair share of challenges.
PEORIA - Since opening its emergency shelter last year, Andy King and the DreamCenter have met their fair share of challenges.
However, lately his staff is witnessing a heartbreaking reality. 
"About 45 to 50 women and children are coming. But what's startling was 20 of that number were under the age of six," said King.  
According to King, the shelter, which serves women, children and single dads, is serving larger families.
With those families, more children are coming to the shelter and currently the center is serving more children than its resources can handle.
"You know there's diapers, wipes and baby food and being able to go and get the right diapers and baby food that kids will need," said King.
In 2012,  the DreamCenter served 76 kids. Since June 2013, it has served nearly 100 children. It is a problem King says is growing in the community.
Mattresses fit for kids, clothes, and staffing are all areas of need. The DreamCenter went to Facebook for help. The response has been overwhelming, but it says there is still a major financial need.
"Taking that on has added a lot of financial stress that we love the challenge of but yet the reality is the community here must step forward to help us," said King.  
With money, the center can buy specific items to match the needs of the children.
And if the pace of kids in need continues, King says support will be more critical than ever.
The DreamCenter posted its need on Facebook last night. The post was shared more than 500 times, and nearly fifty mattresses were donated.
In order to donate, call the DreamCenter at (309) 676-3000.
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