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Spike in Hunger: Weekly Meal Feeding More Mouths

More people are seeking out local charities for their next meal.
PEORIA – Many people are turning to area charities to find their next meal.

On a Monday, this large basement room sits empty. The chairs are stacked, and the kitchen is quiet.

But come Saturday, Peoria’s First United Methodist Church is full of people lining up for a home-cooked meal.

Coordinator of “Loaves and Fish” ministry is Patti Bash. She said, “The need it huge!”

She said the need is growing.

Last Saturday, volunteers fed more than 350 mouths. It’s a spike that local food pantries are feeling. She said, “It's a very rough time. The social service agencies of course with the condition of the state you know, they're had to cut back on many of their programs, so a lot of the aid our guests have been able to get from the social service agency is simply not there.”

With the help of more than 60 volunteers, Bash said they find a way to keep the shelves stocked. “We get students from Bradley and ICC, a lot of church groups that want to volunteer. We have people coming from hours away to help us feed our guests, there's no way that just our church could do this.”

The Catholic Charities of Peoria said it, too, is seeing a surge. Last year, it served more than 13,000 people and saw a 23 percent rise in the population it served.
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