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Illinois church’s ‘Operation Sleighbell’ fills gap in community

EAST PEORIA, Ill. — Families on a tight budget are getting a little help with Christmas shopping this week, courtesy of the East Peoria, Ill., church.
For the second year in a row, “Operation Sleighbell” opened its doors. It is a place where families can buy clothing, shoes and even toys for a few dollars.
Volunteers from the congregation run the store, and this year they know times are tough.
‘”What we’re targeting are the people who work that make too much money for welfare and so we’re trying to provide them a lower cost Christmas,” said Don Helfer, a deacon and volunteer.
Shoppers appreciate the chance to make their hard-earned money go further, they said.
“Times are very tough for everyone,” said Penny Smith, who selected gifts on a recent morning. “There’s infants to adults that need help, and I really appreciate this place.”
People with appointments get to shop first. On Dec. 10 at 1 p.m., the store opens to anyone. It will also be open Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon.
To see related video from WEEK, click here.
(Story and video used by permission.)

Filed under: Staff Reports Top Stories

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