PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Those who visit this porch in Peoria, located on Ellis Street, will find it is actually a pantry.
Stocked with free food, clothes, and furniture, the pantry received its 501 (c)(3) status on Tuesday.
It was created during the pandemic and sees about 25 to 45 families each day.
The vice president of the pantry, Charles Martin, said getting this status allows him to push the pantry further.
“It gives us access to more resources. It gives us access to like Midwest Foodbank. It gives us access to apply for grants and [the ability] to expand and actually help more people than we were helping before,” said Martin.
Recently, the pantry’s security cameras were stolen. Martin said it discouraged and frustrated him, but getting this status makes him want to do even more.
“We’re going to apply for the grant and hopefully get into a permanent location, rather than the porch, so we can offer more services,” said Martin.
A frequent visitor of the pantry, Jennifer Raines, said the Martins have done so much for her and the community.
“On the outside looking in, you see a house stocked with food on their front porch. With a sign that says ‘free, come and get it.’ But you don’t know once you walk up on that porch, you’re getting loved on, you’re accepted, you’re not judged, you’re not condemned, you’re not, you just not. You can’t help but feel it when you step on that first step,” said Raines.
Porch Pantry is currently looking for donations and is open every hour of every day.