Food bank urges donations in others' honor as gifts

URBANA — You could spend buy a sweater or a gadget for somebody on your Christmas list.

Or ... you could consider adding less stuff to somebody's life and put food on the table for a hungry family in your loved one's honor, says the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

The food bank is repeating its annual holiday fundraising campaign that urges giving money for meals rather than sweaters and other gifts people may not want or need for Christmas.

Give the gift of money for meals in someone's honor instead of a material item, and the food bank says it will notify the honoree by email of your gift before Christmas morning.

This campaign has gotten a great response for the past two years, and supporters asked for it to be made available again, food bank officials said.

Donations this time of year are important, says food bank spokeswoman Julie Melton.

The food bank relies on generous holiday spirit giving that occurs in the three months from November through January for half its fundraising for the entire year, and hopes to raise $500,000 to $700,000 in those three months of 2012-2013, Melton said.

That money goes to help feed families who don't know where their next meal is coming from in 14 counties of East Central Illinois: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Moultrie, Piatt and Vermilion.

Here's how to participate in the holiday campaign:

Visit the food bank's secure website: http://bit.ly/qbwVOJ

Fill in the donation amount and other information.

Fill in the "tribute" box and don't forget to include the email of your gift honoree in the "tribute notification" box that pops up.

The gift honoree will be notified by email before Christmas morning if the donation is received by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 20.

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