CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Due to an increase in local pantry needs, U of I UNICEF and the Salvation Army of Champaign County will be accepting non-perishable food items and funds for food on April 22.

Officials said that they are holding the event to keep up with the growing number of families in need and to restock local food pantry shelves. Items most needed include pasta, pasta sauce, canned veggies, canned soups, peanut butter, whole grain cereal, crackers, canned meat, and canned juice.

“U of I UNICEF is partnering with The Salvation Army to conduct a healthy food drive for the people of Champaign, as access to nutritious food is a fundamental aspect of UNICEF’s mission to ensure that every child has a fair chance in life,” said Varshal Patel, U of I UNICEF Student President.

Other needed items include personal hygiene products like bath soap, shampoo, toilet paper, toothpaste, diapers, deodorant, and laundry soap. Cash donations, which will be used to purchase needed items, will also be accepted.

“The need continues to rise in our community, and it is important that as we enter the warmer months, we have food on our shelves ready for distribution,” said Major Randall Summit, Salvation Army of Champaign County. “Food insecurity is a serious concern for some in our community, so we rely on the generosity of the local community to help provide needed resources.”

Officials said that once collected, the food and personal care items will be available at The Red Shield Center Food Pantry located on N. Market Street. They said over 35,599 food boxes and 704 meals were served last year.

You can donate this year on April 22 from 9 a.m. – noon. The drive-thru collection will be at The Salvation Army Worship Center at the 500 block of N. Prospect.

More information can be found here.