PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service is continuing to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friendship House leaders say they provide more than 350 weekly meals to people in Peoria. During the pandemic, the need has grown.
CEO Marcellus Sommerville says food distribution is up 200 percent.
On Friday, Sommerville shopped at Kroger for nonperishable food pantry items, thanks to a $500 kickoff donation to this year’s Stuff-A-Bus fundraiser.
He says donations will keep the food pantry stocked and feed families in need.
“To be able to open our pantry three times a week, feeding over 500 families a week, it’s tremendous for us. We definitely think it’s a big need for us to have this event,” said Sommerville.
This year, the 33rd annual Stuff-A-Bus fundraiser is virtual.
“It’s going to take the people for sure and it’s going to take just everybody shopping out here at Kroger, participating in Stuff-A-Bus,” said Sommerville.
Instead of collecting cans, leaders are collecting cash.
“I guess it’s taking a little bit less of the thinking about what to purchase this year instead of having to go to the store and purchase food off the shelves,” said Emily Watson, the director of marketing for CityLink.
People can make donations online or round-up at the register while shopping at Kroger.
“It’s definitely different than what we’re used to, but we’re really hoping that we’ll have a successful campaign this year and be able to fill the Friendship House pantry with food,” said Watson.
This year’s goal is to raise $10,000.
“We know that this community is a very giving community and has always supported the stuff a bus food drive. This is our 33rd year doing it, so without the support of the community, we wouldn’t be able to continue the food drive,” said Watson.
People can make donations at Peoria and East Peoria Kroger locations or donate online.