grateful for the community. This city is incredibly generous when given the option to help the less fortunate. I'm so grateful that the Lord allows us here at Riverside to be a part of that." Mandy Woll is part of the ministry that travels to Peoria Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army to pick up those who would like to attend church services. “It has made a profound impact on my life being able to sit and listen to what these individuals have gone through and what they are trying to overcome,” she said. “Riverside has shown myself and my family what it’s like to love others and meet people exactly where they are, no strings attached. I’m not sure what the city would do without such an amazing church.” To learn more about these congrega tions or to volunteer, visit fumcpeoria. org and

Pastor Michael Ritchason hands out food at the church’s pantry

lives, and expresses gratitude that his congregation welcomes those seeking transformation. Their most recent project, The Riverside Peoria Fridge, is literally an industrial fridge where people with food insecurity can take what they need. Built into the side of the church, it is open six days a week. Up to 900 people a week get fresh produce, milk, bread and other staples donated by businesses and individuals.

Ritchason calls the fridge visitors “guests,” a term used to ensure each per son gets treated with dignity. A com munity has formed around the fridge that includes people unaffiliated with the church who donate money, drop off food or have stores deliver groceries. "I know being a church in the heart of the city is sometimes hard, but I know that when God called us to this almost 23 years ago that it was to love people, to encourage people, to pray for people," Ritchason said. "I'm so

Laurie Pillman is an author and freelance writer/editor, based in Peoria

EP!C Waste Management Services - Employment Services

trash bins managed. 168 48 Around City blocks covered. 3,700+ bags collected per year. 15 Years of service. 4 individuals with cognitive differences work alongside an EP!C Job Coach 5 days a week. Averaging (More during major events)

Partnering together to keep Peoria streets clean and accessable while providing sustainable job opportunties for people in our community. |


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