Operation Sleigh Bell Helps Those In Need

By Emily West

July 15, 2010 Updated Dec 4, 2007 at 7:49 PM CDT

To help put presents under Christmas trees, Operation Sleigh Bell is underway in downtown Peoria.

Needy families can shop for clothing and toys throughout the week. The families had to sign up for Operation Santa to be eligible to shop.

The East Peoria Church of Christ is organizing the program's first year in Peoria.

Site Manager Frank Sarver said, "This is our first year in Peoria. The other sites have been in operation for awhile. Champaign has been in operation for 23 years. So it's nothing new. But it's really helped a lot of people in Central Illinois."

One shopper, Linda Beaman, said, "I'm here getting things for my grandchildren. There are so many things to choose from, it's unbelievable. The prices are right. I'm getting a lot of nice things and they will be very grateful."

About 550 people have appointments this year for the Peoria store. Much of the merchandise is given to the program throughout the year. Retailers donate returned merchandise to the organization.

If you would like to make donations, you can call the church at 699-4664.

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