The Lions Club of Pekin is counting on the spirit of giving this time of year to support their annual Lions Club Christmas Basket Drive. These baskets provide low-income families with a box of perishable and a box of non-perishable food items along with a carton of milk and a couple loaves of bread.

Terry Knollenberg is the 2017 Pekin Lions Club Christmas Basket Chairman. He said in order to meet their goal this year of 300 baskets the Lions Club needs to raise approximately $17,000.

“Every monetary donation helps us,” Knollenberg said. “We get some high amounts and some $10 donations and every bit helps. 

This program has been serving food baskets since 1947. Christmas food baskets are given to individuals or families in need who have been nominated. The forms may be found in the Pekin Daily Times on Saturdays, on their Facebook page or by visiting www.pekinlions.org. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 1. Typically, the Lions Club receives more nominations for families than they can assist.

“There’s a lot of need out there,” said Knollenberg. “One hundred percent of the money that comes in from the public goes back to the public.”

The Lions Club accepts monetary donations all year round. The basket drive, however, runs through Christmas. 

The baskets will be distributed from 8 to 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 16 at Pekin Community High School’s Holman Technology Education Center. Knollenberg said the Lions Club will send out a card to those who will get a basket a week prior to distribution. The card must be presented at the time of pick up. 

“It’s a labor intensive project,” he said. “ValuCheck (employees) donate time to package the non-perishable items.” 

If anyone is interested in volunteering their time distributing baskets, Knollenberg said there is plenty to do that morning, and they could use help with everything from constructing boxes, unloading trucks, and boxing food for distribution. They begin packaging at 7 a.m. on distribution day.

In addition to accepting donations, the Lions Club will conduct a basket drive fundraiser soup supper from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 700 S. 4th St. in Pekin. There will be various types of soups served and all will be made at the church by members of the Lions Club. They will be taking donations at the door to support the Christmas basket drive.

Anyone who is unable to attend the soup supper but interested in making a monetary donation may send a check payable to the Pekin Lions Club to Pekin Lions Club Christmas Basket Project, P.O. Box 751, Pekin, IL 61555-0751.