PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria’s Riverside Church is looking to the public to help keep its community fridge stocked for those in need.
The Riverside Peoria Fridge at 207 Northeast Monroe Street has been a much-needed resource in the city’s downtown area for the past year, helping to feed those who have limited options.
Eddie Jackson said he utilizes the resource every other day to help take food to his friend who is unable to travel.
“Sometimes they have meat, chicken, milk, eggs, vegetables, baby food, all that,” Jackson said.
However, while the fridge is a necessity for those who utilize it, those who operate it said they can use all the assistance they can get to keep it stocked. They said just as quickly as it gets filled, it gets emptied even faster.
“To fill it once takes about $700 and that’s to fill it full and once it is full it can be depleted in about an hour,” Kelsey Wehner, coordinator for the Riverside Peoria Fridge, said. “So realistically, anything we can get we put right into that fridge because it will be gone like that.”
She said they try to keep the fridge filled every day, but it’s a repeated cycle of going from stocked to stark in the same day.
“Which is amazing that we can serve these people but that means the need is just huge,” Wehner said.
Because the need is so huge, she said they rely on donations to stock the fridge.
One visitor named Ariana said these donations to the fridge are crucial to those who are struggling, especially during the wintertime.
“They [residents in the area] always have some sort of access to something to put in their belly even if it’s something like this, it’s better than not having anything,” Ariana said. “Because a lot of people, like myself at the moment, can’t exactly just go to the store until we get our next check or our next link amount, and sometimes that’s a long stretch.”
Wehner said they are looking for monetary donations or fresh produce, meat, or dairy items.
She said they would also accept connections that people may have with other people who own a grocery store or a food bank.
“And so if people have time we are always needing volunteers to help clean the fridge or pick up donations from different food banks,” Wehner said. “Anything is accepted and excited.”
For those looking to donate, you can do so at this link.