Hundreds of families helped with toys and food through distribution

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Over 400 families were able to get help with both toys for their children and food for their tables this week.

Between Wednesday and Friday, Toys for Tots held a distribution at the St. James United Methodist Church in Danville. Church officials also said their food pantry ran a food distribution at the same time.

As families came in to pick out their toys, Food Pantry Coordinator Carol Olson said they were asked if they would like some food baskets as well. Those who did want to partake in the baskets were able to pick them up after they picked out their toys.

Olson stated around 360 families took baskets. Those numbers covered both families getting toys and some who are regulars at their food pantry.

The food pantry usually does not hold a distribution in December, according to Olson. She said Toys for Tots takes over their building, so they did not want to overcrowd with the food distribution as well.

However, this year they were able to hold both distributions at the same time. Olson said they because a USDA Commodity Agency this year, so they received lots of free food. So much so that if they did not have a distribution this month, they would have had a storage issue.

While they normally have families come in and pick out their foods, the pandemic caused the pantry to switch things up. They started having drive-thru pick-ups complete with pre-packed bags. Through the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Olson said the pantry is able to offer more fresh produce and other goods with their bags.

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