CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Two Champaign parents and their 11 children need your help. They recently lost their home, and the Salvation Army’s Canteen Run is raising donations to find the family a safe place to live.

Volunteers said they’re seeing up to double, triple the number of people without homes than they normally do. Numbers usually go up as it gets warmer outside, but the biggest concern for this family is they have nowhere else to go.

“We often see individuals or couples but it’s rare to see a family in that situation,” volunteer Deb Stoltz said. “We’re keeping it limited because it’s a family with children, so they need their privacy.”

The kids are between the ages of one and 14 – all relying on a tent in Champaign for shelter. The parents are in contact with social service agencies to find housing but are facing a long waiting list.

“We’re trying to help them now so in the future they can get to a place that’s more stable,” Stoltz said.

In the meantime, volunteers are asking for cash donations to help cover the deposit on a new place. Another challenge – several of the kids need to eat gluten-free diets, which can be costly.

“They’re also living on one disability paycheck. So they don’t have much money. To be able to afford special food, along with enough food, plus housing, they’re just in a really bad situation right now,” Stoltz said.

Volunteers say it was a Champaign County Sheriff’s deputy who reached out several days ago asking if they could help the family.

“We’re really happy the Sheriff’s department is working with social service agencies to try to resolve problems,” Stoltz said.

Volunteer Daniel Davies said in an online post: “I can’t say enough good about the deputy who is very concerned about their wellbeing and safety. We are so fortunate to have law enforcement officers like him serving our communities.”

Canteen Run says police agencies reach out often with concerns for people in need.

“They’re actually very helpful and they’re very proactive about helping so we’re grateful for that,” Stoltz said.

If you’d like to help out, they say donations can be made to the Salvation Army with Canteen Run written in the memo, and the money will go directly toward helping the family. For more information, you can send an email to