Peoria Friendship House launches 26th annual Stuff-A-Bus Campaign

By WEEK Producer

October 26, 2013 Updated Oct 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Local community organizations are fusing fun, family and food.

Jenny Lee is the Community Support Director of the Peoria Friendship House, an organization whose mission is to help residents in need.

"We're pretty much open. If someone comes through our door asking for help, we try to figure out what to do," Lee said.

This is the 26th annual Stuff-A-Bus Campaign and Saturday was their first ever fall festival for families to have fun and donate.

As for the main event, the organization partners with Kroger and City Link to pack a bus with tons of food.

"Last year, we had nine tons of it," Lee said.

The Peoria Friendship House will be collecting monetary and non-perishable food donations for next year's pantry until November 30.

If you don't have time to shop for your own items, you can buy a pre-made bag for $3, $5 or $10 and just scan it at the store.

"It is good business to do good and this event helps stock the friendship house for most of the year," said Kroger Central Illinois District Manager Gregg Proctor.

"Our shelves right now are bare. We just rotated everything to our pantry and we have green beans and crackers and that's pretty much it," Lee said. "We absolutely need this. Without having the Stuff-A-Bus Campaign, we wouldn't have a pantry."

The donations from last year's campaign sustained the organization until about two weeks ago. With thousands depending on their services, organizers said now couldn't be a more crucial time to help.

"This year, because of the economy going down and the recovery of the recession, people really need food," CityLink General Manager Tom Lucek said.

That is why people like Lindsey Swinehart pitch in.

"I picked up a bag today because I don't feel like anyone should be wondering where there next meal should be coming from and I don't feel that anyone should ever feel that way or how they will feed their family," Swinehart said.

For more information on the Stuff-a-Bus campaign and how to donate click on the link above.

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