Local non-profit organizations experiencing challenges and successes this holiday season

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – With Christmas fast approaching, it’s one of the busiest times of the year for local nonprofits as they work to meet the needs of the community.

While on vacation, Charles Martin, vice president of operations for Porch Pantry in Peoria, said food insecurity was on the rise.

He said the pandemic has presented hardships for families, but there are also new challenges.

“It’s not necessarily the fact that they can’t afford it, right now if you go to a grocery store you’ll see the turkey bins, the ham bins, they’re emptying,” Martin said. .

Open 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, Porch Pantry tries to target this need. Martin said his organization received a lot of help from the community, but giving donations was not an easy task.

“There are other people who don’t know what to do. I say to everyone, just give us what you don’t reach, because what you don’t reach for someone else might need it, ”said Martin.

Peoria’s Neighborhood House staff said family and individual donors are on the decline, but other community partners have helped fill the void.

“For our Angel Tree, we’ve seen a bunch of businesses ramp up. So like CEFCU, Busey Bank, Caterpillar, ”said Trevor Neff, director of community impact at Neighborhood House.

Neff added that volunteers have continued to support Neighborhood House.

“The reach we have is less this year, so we are asking for fewer volunteers. But all the places are always filled within a day or two of the need arises, ”said Neff.

When it comes to helping community members in need, Martin said nothing is too small.

“A dollar, five dollars, anything can help,” Martin said.

On Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Porch Pantry is hosting a Christmas carnival at the First English Lutheran Church.

Martin said that gifts for 300 children will be available and that Porch Pantry is still accepting donations throughout the day of the event.

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