Porch Pantry in Peoria’s West Bluff Achieves Non-Profit Status
PEORIA – In the following week security camera theft outside the house that manages the Porch Pantry, Kelli and Charles Martin have toyed with the idea of closing.
But this week, they learned that their application to become a nonprofit charity had been approved. This brings with it the potential of partnering with a local food bank.
Meanwhile, the Porch Pantry remains open for business, but with a few changes. The biggest change will be the appearance of the porch. It will be filtered and there will be a door to the area leading to items such as food, clothing, and some furniture.
“It will look like a three season porch,” Charles Martin said. “It’s for our porch, to make us feel more secure.”
The other big change is the schedules. Last fall, amid rising COVID-19 rates and concerns about cuts to unemployment benefits or food aid, the Martins opened the porch 24 hours a day. them at all times and take what they needed.
Now it will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., he said, which will contribute to that “added feeling of insecurity when people are on the porch and no one is awake.”
People donated more storage containers, and he is hopeful that a partnership with the Midwest Food Bank could emerge to help with their food supply. This is exciting for the Martins, as it would mean that they wouldn’t have to depend so much on individuals who donate food.
“They said that once we became a charity, we could call them for a partnership,” he said.
The other benefit of the new 501 (c) (3) status is that Martin is in the process of applying for a federal grant to buy a truck to help them haul things and to help find a more permanent home – off their front porch. – for the pantry.
The latter has long been a goal for the Martins, who started the pantry 15 months ago amid the pandemic. They hope to have showers, TV rooms and laundry facilities in a new location.
Lucien:Porch pantry needs help
But until then, the pantry will remain in their West Bluff home.
Charles Martin admitted he was about to quit smoking last week.
“I’m not really religious, but I believe if you’re supposed to do something, something will come up,” he said. “If we were supposed to do this, then this is what we will do.”