PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — At the end of January, the Peoria Salvation Army’s annual Tree of Lights campaign will wrap up. With just a few weeks to spare, the organization is continuing to work towards reaching its donation goal.

As inflation puts a pinch on wallets, the Peoria Salvation Army is seeing an increase in community members in need of their services.

“We do see people for the first time, who perhaps have never experienced or asked for help from the Salvation Army are reaching out to us saying we need help,” said Major Heath Sells, Peoria Area Commander for The Salvation Army.

The Tree of Lights campaign funds around 35 percent of the Salvation Army’s annual budget. In Peoria, the organization set a goal of raising a total of $2 million dollars by the end of January.

“We still have about $400,000 dollars to raise to meet the needs of current programming and what we project will be the need for the remainder of 2023,” Sells said.

82 cents of every dollar goes right back into the Central Illinois community. Donations from the public support Salvation Army programs for veterans, emergency food and shelter, and areas like child care.

“It really helps our center,” said Tenisha Brooks, Peoria Salvation Army child care director.

At the Salvation Army’s Child Care Center, Brooks said the Tree of Lights will help projects like building a library for kids. It also assists with everyday operations that help develop local children.

“It provides and makes sure that we have the learning materials that we need for the teachers and the children,” Brooks said.

Salvation Army leaders say every dollar truly makes a difference.

“A $5 dollar gift, a $10,000 dollar gift, anything in between allows the Salvation Army to continue to meet those needs in our community,” Sells said.

You can donate online at sapeoria.org. Checks can also be mailed to 401 Northeast Adams Street, Peoria, IL, 61603.