PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A local food pantry is finding itself stacked with food but slow on takers.
Willa Lucas, the coordinator of the East Bluff’s Food Pantry, said it’s a trend they’ve noticed for weeks, but also said it’s a good problem to have.
She said they have more food now than they’ve ever had at one time and at this point they’re begging Peorians to come by and take it off their hands.
Lucas said they’ve been blessed with donations from supporters, Midwest Food Bank, Kroger on Sterling, Heart of Illinois Harvest, and more. However, she said while they typically average 45-50 people at the pantry a week, lately, they haven’t even gotten 35.
She said transportation, hours of operation, pride, and extra assistance during the pandemic may be to blame for the drop in numbers.
“We get so many people say ‘no, I’ll leave it for somebody that needs it more than I do’,” Lucas said. “It’s not a case like that, if you need you need. What we try to tell people is come here first and see what we’ve got and see what you can get, then go to the grocery store and build your meals around it.”
In an effort to give out the food and keep some from spoiling, she said she’s encouraging the public to stop and get some groceries and hygiene products. She said the pantry only exists to support those in the city.
“We don’t care if you’re employed, working, and getting a decent living. We don’t care if you’re on unemployment, getting TANF or if aunt Lucy buys your groceries for you,” Lucas said. “We’re here and we don’t exist without you.”
Lucas said the pantry starts at 8:30 a.m. and the doors close and the doors are locked at noon on Saturdays. It’s located at 512 E Kansas St.
She said those coming by have to bring an I.D, proof of address in Peoria, and should bring their patience.