PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — For more than a year, Peoria’s Porch Pantry, located at 1122 N Ellis St, has helped those in need with free food, clothing, and furniture.
The pantry opened toward the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March 2020 and is run by West Bluff residents Kelli Martin and her husband Charles. Last month, the pantry even received 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status.
However, those who run the pantry, which was created to help neighbors with possible clothing and food shortages, said the pantry is now facing shortages of its own.
“Right now it’s a lack of donations,” Charles Martin, Vice President of the Porch Pantry, said. “That’s the biggest thing. You know we can’t help people out if people don’t donate.”
“We do have our 501(c)(3) and we’re looking to get funding from Midwest Food Bank, but right now we’re kind of at an in-between,” Martin said.
Martin said about 95% of their items come from private donations, but he said about six weeks ago he noticed the donations going dry, specifically food donations.
“We had a steady flow, a steady flow, then it kind of trickled out, trickled out,” Martin said. “That’s the one thing we’re looking for is food because we have to be able to feed people.”
Now he said many of the food shelves are going bare and many of those who use the pantry are going home.
“We have anywhere between 35-75 people a day coming here and at the height of this we were doing 100-150,” Martin said. “Now, it’s trickled down. I hate to turn people away, and when they come up here and see there’s nothing, they just turn around and go home because there’s nothing here.”
Martin also said aside from the lack of donations, the pantry has faced recent thefts of security cameras and plastic totes.
He said the community support has been motivation enough to keep pushing on, especially since he’s seen the pantry making a difference in so many lives.
“I said a long time ago if we were meant to keep going, then something would present itself,” Martin said. “And the community just overwhelmed us with support saying ‘hey, if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t eat, if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have clothes on our backs, if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have this or we wouldn’t have that.”
“That just to me tells me that we should keep doing what we’re doing because we’re actually out there helping people,” Martin said.
Now, he said he’s hoping the community can continue helping in any way they can to ensure the pantry goes on.
“Five or ten dollars, every little bit helps,” Martin said. “If everyone gave five or ten dollars, you’d see a big difference.”
Martin said anyone can donate at the pantry itself, GoFundMe, or using any of the options below.
- Pay Pal – Fiedlerhomestead@yahoo.com
- Venmo – Charles-Martin-297
- Cash App – PorchPantry2020$