Social service agencies plan to feed more people Thanksgiving

By Denise Jackson

November 12, 2012 Updated Nov 12, 2012 at 7:41 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Some local social service agencies are expecting to feed more people this Thanksgiving compared to last year.

Funding shortfalls have forced some groups reach out for help.

Cooking meals in large quantities is nothing new for the folks at the South Side Mission and this Thanksgiving will be no exception. The agency expects to deliver about 2,700 turkey dinners, some of them going for the first time to places like Deer Creek Mackinaw and local group homes.

"We're seeing a lot of other organizations who have lost funding asking us to take on some of their burden in delivering meals to the elderly, the poor, shut-in the handicapped and those in need," said South Side Mission Executive Director Phil Newton.

Newton says community support will be important to accommodate the 10 to 15 percent increase in meals. At the Salvation Army, officials are also gearing up for a larger crowd as well.

"Our lunch program which is where we are at now, over the last month, we saw an increase of about 1,200 meals, some of that largely due to the fact that we have take on that additional day center programming from when the Y closed down," said Salvation Army Spokesman Rich Draeger.

Next week, volunteers at both agencies will begin prepping food for the big meal.

Residents wanting to help or donate should contact the South Side Mission at 676-4604 or the Salvation Army at 655-7220.

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