PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Going above and beyond.
A Peoria woman, Kelli Martin, is providing food for her community through her own money and donations.
“If I don’t have cash donations and there’s nothing flowing in, I’ll take $20 of what I have and go down to Dollar Tree or Aldi, you can get a lot at Dollar Tree and Aldi for $20,” Martin said laughing.
The ‘Free Food Porch Pantry’ is open to anyone who needs it.
Martin has daily visitors, people who come once a week, and others she sees just once.
There’s food to create meals and food for kids.
“There’s a lot of kids in the neighborhood. So there’s ramen noodles, spaghetti-o’s, peanut butter and jelly, bread, oatmeal, cereal, any kind of pasta, mashed potatoes, thing that are pretty much ready to eat when your kid is standing there like ‘I’m hungry, I’m hungry,” Martin said.
There’s also clothing, books and more to help those get through the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“There’s a guy named ‘Wild Bill’ Anderson, who brought us clothes because the seasons are going to change and he was worried people wouldn’t have the ability to buy their kids’ clothing. So we have a table full and a rack,” Martin said.
Martin started this food pantry about a month ago and has served hundreds of people
“My favorite part is getting to meet all the people and hear their stories. There have been people who have stopped by and said ‘I was on this side of it, I lived off of donations from my friends, I slept on couches, I ate from food pantries and soup pantries. Then I got a good job or went to school and my life changed. But I remember being on that side of it,” Martin said.
Martin says she’s received support from people all across the country.
“I take pictures of what we got, and what we don’t have. I’m posting it on Facebook, and I ask my friends for donations. They share it and it gets around to our community and people stop by. I’ve had people donate to us from Chicago, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Texas, who used to live here and they want to help their community even though they aren’t here anymore,” Martin said.
If you need help, you can come to the ‘Free Food Porch Pantry’ at 1122 N. Ellis Street in Peoria everyday from 10:00 a.m. until it is dark out.
Martin says she will go until there’s not a need anymore.
You can also find Martin on Facebook if you would like to help her food pantry.