PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – With Christmas just around the corner, this is one of the busiest times of the year for local non-profits as they work to meet community needs.
During the holidays, Charles Martin, vice president of operations at Porch Pantry in Peoria, said food insecurity is on the rise.
He said the pandemic has presented struggles for families, but there are also new challenges.
“It’s not necessarily the fact that they can’t afford it, right now if you go to a grocery store you’ll see the turkey bins, the ham bins, they’re getting empty,” Martin said.
Open 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, Porch Pantry tries to target that need. Martin said his organization does Receive great community help, but bringing in donations is no easy task.
“There’s other people that aren’t sure what to do. I tell everybody just give us what you’re not reaching for, because what you’re not reaching for somebody else might need,” Martin said.
Staff at Peoria’s Neighborhood House said family and individual donors are down, but other community partners have helped fill the void.
“For our Angel Tree, we saw a bunch of corporations step up. So like like CEFCU, Busey Bank, Caterpillar,” said Trevor Neff, community impact director at Neighborhood House.
Neff added that volunteers have continued to support Neighborhood House.
“The reach that we have is less this year, so we’re asking for less volunteers. But all the spots are always filled within a day or two of putting the need out there,” Neff said.
When it comes to helping community members in need, Martin said nothing is too small.
“A dollar, five dollars, anything helps,” Martin said.
Saturday from 1 P.M.- 4 P.M., Porch Pantry is hosting a Christmas Carnival at First English Lutheran Church.
Martin said presents for 300 children will be available and Porch Pantry is still accepting donations through the day of the event.