CI Hero: Food nourishes the soul, Peoria woman uses food bank for outreach

CI Heroes

PEORIA, Ill.– 11% of Illinois homes suffer from food insecurity. Some say food nourishes the soul. For one Peoria woman, she makes it her mission to get involved with the community and encourage people to seek help.

Pamela Wiley is a positive influence for the River City and is this week’s CI Hero.

“Nobody in Illinois really should be hungry,” said Darrell Brown, nominator. “She got the idea and she made it her mission and she’s been doing it with blood sweat and tears.”

Some would say that Pamela Wiley is the blessing.

“She can send individuals out the door with a smile on their face, with hope in their hearts,” said Derrick Booth. “That’s the compensation for Pam and that’s what other people can learn. It’s a blessing to give.”

You can normally find her behind heaves of donated food at the pantry located in the Wraparound Center at Trewyn School in the River City. If she’s not there she’s out in the community she serves.

“That was the promise I made to God,” said Pamela Wiley. “If He provided for me and all I would want to do is provide back and that was by feeding people.”

Each day Wiley works hard to provide for others. She’s been in those shoes. She’s lived life in poverty, but she says food is about more than just nutrition.

“Food is spiritual need that we have to make us healthy,” said Wiley. “So if you put it in those words, then yeah it could be a ‘staple,’ but sometimes it’s just nourishment to the spirit and the soul.”

Her efforts are being noticed in the community by those like her nominator, Darrell brown.

“She loves the kids,” said Brown. “She loves feeding the kids. She loves feeding anybody that can come because it’s not just for people in the 61605 area. Anyone can come from everywhere. Peoria helps everybody.”

Wiley hopes her food pantry is setting up the stage for others to follow.

“We get a lot of fresh food that we get down here that we can share in every other school that we have in this district and outside the district,” said Wiley. “So I think this is like a pilot and I don’t mind flying.”

The Wraparound Center does take donations for its food bank. You can drop off items to the front desk during open hours of operation.

It’s located at 1419 S. Folkers Ave., Peoria, Il 61605. It can be reached at (309)-282-1919.

From the CityLink Transit Center use the #7 Garden bus to Garden and Folkers or the #13 SW Adams route to Laramie and Latrobe.

Hours of operation: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Nominate someone you know to be our next CI Hero by CLICKING HERE.

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