Salvation Army Christmas Assistance Underway

By WEEK Reporter

November 7, 2011 Updated Nov 8, 2011 at 11:08 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. --  If you need a little help stocking up this winter, you may want to head to The Salvation Army.

Sign-ups began today for The Salvation Army's Christmas assistance programs.

They include getting donated toys, food baskets, and coats.

WEEK-TV News 25 is co-sponsoring Kids for Coats with The Salvation Army and Children's Hospital of Illinois (see below for details). 

The Salvation Army Assistant Development Director, Rich Draeger, says it's getting harder to meet the growing need.  You can help out by donating toys, coats, or even money.

"Any time somebody wants to come and find out where those dollars are going, we're more than happy to show them put a human face on how people are struggling this time of year in Central Illinois," said Draeger.

"It's not just the single parents and the people who are unemployed," said Samantha Bishop, of Peoria, who signed up for assistance Monday. 

"There's even people working nowadays who are struggling. The cost of food is going up and money is going down. To have to ask for help, it hurts the pride a little, but swallowing my pride and taking care of my son is the main thing in my life." 

Anyone can register. Just go to the Salvation Army's Sylvia Fites Center at 417 NE Jefferson in Peoria now until December 2.

Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Thursday are from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

You can sign up to receive or donate:

Toys through Share the Spirit Party at the Peoria Civic Center December 6th or the Toy Shop December 15 and 16 (various locations). Click here for Toys for Tots drop off locations.

Food through the food basket giveaway on December 19th. 

New or used coats through Coats for Kids at the Sylvia Fites Center (runs through December 5th).

Coats can be dropped off at WEEK TV at 2907 Springfield Road in East Peoria.

You can also drop off coats at all area Jim Maloof Realty locations, various OSF medical offices and Outpatient Centers in the Tri-County, and American Family Insurance outlets. Other locations include Alexander Financial Services in Washington, and the Northwoods Mall.

Special collection events will be held on Monday, November 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Great Hall in the Peoria Civic Center, during the annual Santa Claus Parade on November 25, and on Saturday, December 3 at the Peoria Rivermen Hockey game.

Draeger says the red kettles for monetary donations will start up on Friday around Central Illinois. 

For more information, please contact The Sylvia Fites Family Services Center at (309) 655-7272.