PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Crittenton Centers in Peoria is offering assistance to families with young children, distributing food and supplies at their first-ever Sharing the Love event.

The center’s Crisis Nursery Coordinator, Michelle Spanbauer, said employees will be handing out 150 meal kits and hundreds of supply packages from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 26.

“They’ll get a food bag that has all the fixings for a spaghetti supper,” Spanbauer said. “As needed, they’ll get a supply of formula, diapers, wipes, and we also have some books and activities for them.”

Families at the drive-through will also have the chance to select what diaper size and formula kind they require.

Spanbauer said they already do hand-outs Monday through Friday, but employees at Crittenton felt the need to add an extra event to serve the community’s growing need for childcare assistance.

“In a typical year, we give out about sixty thousand diapers. Since last March, when the pandemic started, and everyone went into quarantine, we’ve given out one hundred and thirty thousand diapers,” Spanbauer said. “So we know the need is really great in the community.”

Spanbauer said challenges brought on by the pandemic have also impacted how often and when families can pick up supplies.

“We know that for a lot of our families that work during the day, or have children that are home doing virtual learning…it’s a lot harder for them to get out during the week,” Spanbauer said.

She says she also hopes the event will reach those who have not taken advantage of Crittenton Centers’ services before, creating a comfortable space for families in need to come in and explore their various programs and services.

“We really want people to understand the care we provide for the children that are here and the love we have for children and families in our communities,” said Spanbauer.

For more information about tomorrow’s event or Crittenton Centers, visit their Facebook page or website.