PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s the season of giving and The Salvation Army is helping local families in need.
This holiday season, many are feeling an extra pinch on their wallets.
“We have a lot of things going on with the prices, rising costs, it’s hard for single families or families in general to celebrate Christmas, let alone gifts for kids,” said Candace Webb, Peoria resident.
Some families are finding relief at The Salvation Army in Peoria this week.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the organization is hosting a toy shop, where families could shop for gifts for children at no cost.
“We really do depend on the donations. We partner with toys for tots to provide toys, as well as about 10 other organizations and agencies in the community,” said Rachael Cansino, social services director at Tri-County Salvation Army.
In 2021, The Salvation Army distributed toys for 875 children. This year, at least 2,630 children will be served.
“We are having folks come through that are working families but still need that extra assistance, especially now with our utility rates going up,” Cansino said.
The Salvation Army is also distributing 2,750 red stockings filled with toys and 4,740 food boxes purchased through the Journal Star Christmas Fund.
“The food insecurity is real, it is here in our community,” Cansino said. “Even in the last quarter, we’ve had a significant increase of 200 percent of people that are in need of food.”
Parents like Webb said that their child will be able to have a merry Christmas with the help they received.
“She’ll have gifts wrapped under the tree from Santa of course, but of course with the help of The Salvation Army. It definitely makes a difference for us,” Webb said.
Hundreds of volunteers also helped make the toy and food distribution possible.