PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The traditional season of giving is over, but a crucial need still exists for Peoria non-profits.
Peoria’s Salvation Army is still accepting and needing donations to meet its goal for its annual holiday fundraiser, its Tree of Lights campaign.
While the bell ringers and red kettles were put away for the season after Christmas Eve, the Tree of Lights campaign last through the end of January and there’s still a long way to go to meet the $2 million goal.
“I think many people think that when the bells and kettles are put away for the season that the Tree of Lights campaign is finished,” said the commander of the Salvation Army of Peoria, Heath Sells.
Major Heath Sells, commander of the Salvation Army of Peoria, said they’ve only raised about 65% of their goal and are reminding people it’s not too late to help out.
“We’ve raised about $1.3 million of the $2 million, so we have a significant amount of money to raise in the next 30 days,” Sells said.
Sells said the $2 million helps provide food, shelter and programs to those in need.
“The $2 million reflects the need, I wish I could say it was just a goal but it absolutely reflects the need,” Sells said.
The pandemic and inflation have increased the number of people that utilize Salvation Army services. Sells said this is especially true locally where four of the poorest zip codes in Illinois exist.
“1 in 9 individuals will go to bed hungry today and we’re asking the community to join us to make sure we do our part to step in the gap to meet those needs,” Sells said.
The Tree of Lights campaign honorary chair Craig Young said in November at the kick-off event that he’s confident in Central Illinois.
“The Peoria area community comes out every year and supports this campaign year after year after year,” Young said.
The Tree of Lights campaign officially wraps up on Jan. 31.
Those interested in donating can mail a donation or give virtually online.