46204599942 dfe6f0ce1f bThe University of Illinois Extension and the Food Pantry Network – Heart of Illinois have compiled a list of local organizations offering meals and food boxes to families in Central Illinois. Below are locations where meals can be picked up across the 46th District, a full list or participating organizations can be found here.

Questions can be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., as well as any additions to the list.

Thanksgiving Meals

Peoria County
⦁ South Side Mission: Peoria, Peoria Heights, & Bartonville call 309-676-4604 to sign up by Wednesday, November 17th
⦁ Valeska Hinton: Heartland Health hosting Thanksgiving Box distribution Nov. 20 noon to 2 p.m., free turkey vouchers will be given to the first 100 recipients
⦁ Redeemer Lutheran Food Pantry: Box of food given out Nov. 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. & Nov. 22 from 1 to 3 p.m.
⦁ Catholic Charities Fulton Sheen Food Pantry: Box of food given out every Tuesday and Thursday in November from 9:30-11:30 a.m. while supplies last
⦁ Neighborhood House: Partnering with OSF to distribute 100 boxes on Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon or until they run out
⦁ Sophia's Kitchen: Carry out meal on Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., no sign up required
⦁ Dream Center: Box of food Nov. 23 throughout the day
⦁ Hand Up Peoria Inc.: Box of Food Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon
⦁ Salvation Army Peoria - NE Adams St.: Free community meal Nov. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m., enter through alley off of Spalding Ave.

Tazewell County
⦁ Pekin Township: Call by Monday Nov. 21 at 346-3194 to sign-up for hot meal pick-up on Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
⦁ HOPE Chest - Pekin: Box of food Nov. 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. while supplies last, ID Required

Fulton County
⦁ Salvation Army & HyVee: First 275 people who call 309-647-0732 and make a reservation, distribution from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 25

Holiday Meals

Peoria County
⦁ Salvation Army Peoria: Mail letter to Christmas Baskets, Journal Star, One News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61643 - include your name, address with apartment number, phone number, total number of people in household
⦁ South Side Mission: Serving 61603, 61604, and 61605 Call 309-676-4604 to sign up
⦁ East Bluff Community Center: Christmas Day Meal Eat-in or carry out from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
⦁ Catholic Charities Fulton Sheen Food Pantry: Box of food including hams given out every Tuesday and Thursday in November from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. while supplies last
⦁ Neighborhood House: 125 boxes of food available on Dec. 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until they run out
⦁ First United Methodist Church, Loaves & Fish: Box of food & lunches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 25 or as supplies last - distribution will be outdoors, no public restrooms available
⦁ Sophia's Kitchen: Box of pantry food Dec. 20 to 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1,000 bags one per person - no deliveries/sign up - but ID will be required
⦁ Dream Center: Box of food Dec. 21 throughout the day
⦁ Hand Up Peoria Inc.: Box of food Dec. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon

Tazewell County
⦁ HOPE Chest: Boxes will be available in December at a date TBD during pantry hours, ID required - available while supplies last
⦁ Salvation Army of Pekin 360 Life Center: Box of Food sign up November 22-24 call 309-346-3010 - Requires: ID, proof of address, & Tazewell County resident. Pick up Dec. 20 8 a.m. to noon
⦁ Pekin Township: Call 346-3195 by Dec. 20 to sign up hot meal pick up on December 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
⦁ St Vincent DePaul Food Pantry: Pekin, IL - sign up November 17 and 19 8:30 to 11 a.m. in circle drive of St Joseph Church. 120 baskets available - ID required

Category: News

51196798515 bc99832548 b rPEORIA – College-bound students in Illinois will now be able to apply to any of Illinois’ 12 public schools, as well as dozens of private institutions, using only one online form, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced.

Koehler and other members of the Illinois General Assembly worked alongside the Illinois Board of Higher Education to allot $1 million in funding that will add all of the state’s public universities to the Common App platform, making it easier for students in Illinois to consider staying in-state for their college education.

“We are lucky to have so many outstanding colleges and universities here in Central Illinois and across the state,” Koehler said. “By making it easier for students to apply for and be accepted into these schools, we are encouraging them to stay in Illinois and use their knowledge and skills to build a brighter future for our state.”

Waivers are also available for low-income Common App applicants who may be concerned about the cost of applying for college, but some Illinois colleges have no application fees or will waive fees if necessary.

“Having all of the public universities on the Common App will make it easier for students to apply,” said Ginger Ostro, executive director of IBHE. “We see this as a tool for more students to explore the opportunities at all Illinois colleges and universities and remain in Illinois for their post-secondary education.”

Koehler encourages all interested students and families to visit the Common App website to learn more about the application process.

Category: Press Releases

15766597425 4fdb60b118 b rPEORIA – In recognition of sacrifices made by brave Illinoisans who have served our country, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is inviting people to write friendly and encouraging letters to residents of veteran’s homes ahead of Veterans Day.

“I am proud to represent a great deal of veterans across Central Illinois,” Koehler said. “Our communities benefit every day from the sacrifices they have made for us, and it is important that we show our appreciation and honor those sacrifices.”

Operation Rising Spirit is an initiative of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs that encourages communities to write letters to residents in the care of veterans’ homes in Illinois. At a time when isolation is at a record high, the letters are meant to extend friendly affirmation for the bravery and courage of veterans both throughout their service and the pandemic.

“Especially during this time of uncertainty and isolation for many people living in long-term care facilities, kind messages and words of encouragement are an easy way to make our veterans feel remembered and appreciated,” Koehler said. “I hope that members of our community will take the time to reach out and make a positive impact.”

The campaign will focus on veterans’ homes in Illinois, located in Anna, Chicago, LaSalle, Manteno, and Quincy. To send a message to a veteran or a veteran home, visit Send-a-note. For people wanting to send physical letters, locations for each of the veterans’ homes can be found here.

Category: Press Releases

pexels pixabay 263402 rSPRINGFIELD – Communities in central Illinois and across the state would receive quicker and more reliable emergency medical services under legislation sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) that advanced out of the Senate on Wednesday.

“By not allowing qualified and certified emergency medical personnel to work in their field, we run the risk of denying lifesaving care to our communities,” Koehler said. "This legislation works to ensure that our EMS providers are well-staffed, and that emergency care in Illinois is efficient and reliable.”

House Bill 2431 requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to adopt rules that would allow EMS personnel who have both been certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and have applied for licensure to operate on provisional status.

This legislation will address staffing shortages in the EMS industry across the state. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many EMS providers have faced challenges finding adequate staffing and keeping ambulances available to serve communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our health care workers especially hard, leading to staffing shortages,” Koehler said. “I hope that EMS staffs across the state are able to receive assistance and relief as a result of this legislation.”

House Bill 2431 will now return to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
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