A truck load of nonperishable food items was donated by fans last Friday night during two football games at Pekin Community High School to help stock Pekin’s new food pantry, which opened Sunday.

The pantry, City Market at City Church at 335 Sabella St. in Downtown Pekin, will be open to distribute food to those in need in the community and it will also be ready to take further donations during the fall from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday and from 10:30 a.m. to noon every first Tuesday.

Dragon Booster Club hosted the food drive as a way to thank Pekin City Church members for their many volunteers every home game in the concessions and at the grill for the past three seasons. Athletic Director Barry Gurvey, Boosters president Bill Cash, and Boosters secretary Amanda Broughton were all a big part in making the food drive a great success — Gurbey approved the drive after it came up in a Booster Club meeting, and Amanda was the liaison between booster club and City Church.

When Booster Club members heard about the new pantry opening within the ministry of Pekin City Church, they knew this was a great way to repay the volunteers and to give back to the community, said Broughton.

Once the word and flyer hit social media, it seemed to spread like wildfire, based on the amount of people the Pekin Daily Times observed sharing it on social media over the weekend.

Clem Salazar, board member of JFL, stretched the efforts into circles outside the Pekin Booster Club, and from there it has truly become a community-wide event, said Broughton. There were even Morton fans who came with donations.

Connie Bowman, the director of City Market, said she was overwhelmed with gratitude in how effective the Dragon Booster Club has been in getting the word out, and grateful to Pekin citizens for their generous response.

“Thank you to all the Dragon and Morton fans who contributed, and to the Booster Club for making tonight possible,” she said.