PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Combining passion with purpose by running miles for meals.

Peorians journeyed across the city ending at the South Side Mission on Laramie Street. The Peoria nonprofit primarily serves those in the 61605 zip code.

“Miles 4 Meals helps raise money for the meals that we serve,” said Rich Draeger, Development Manager for the South Side Mission. “This year, we’re focusing that on the youth. That’s our big focus this year as part of our vision.”

This week’s CI Hero, Pastor Frank Winfrey said the 16-mile race is about more than completion.

“We fed about 5,000 people this past year, and we’re looking forward to doing that again with the public’s support,” said Pastor Frank Winfrey. “We couldn’t do it without all the volunteers that get the meals out to the community and those that prep it ahead of time.”

Miles 4 Meals helps support the mission’s culinary arts, soup kitchen, and feeding ministries. The more than $5,000 raised goes directly to those causes.

“People in central Illinois are so generous,” said Winfrey. “They love to feel like they’re making a difference and helping, and that’s kind of the sense I get from some of the runners that have come forward and are going to participate.”

Winfrey aimed to rack up 40 miles during the Saturday event, saying it combines his passion for running and service.

“I just look forward to meeting new people and introducing them a little bit to some of the ministries that are important to the South Side Mission,” said Winfrey.

“He’s really just a fixture here at South Side Mission,” said Draeger. “He’s a very important piece of the cog that helps us carry out our mission to reach out to our community and show them the love of Jesus Christ, and he certainly is a great example of that.”

The South Side Mission also offers youth programming, outreach ministries, and hope for the holidays.

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