As a mission of the Heart of Peoria Catholic Community, Sophia’s Kitchen believes in providing nourishment to those most in need through food for the day, support for their health needs, and spiritual guidance for their everlasting souls.
Sophia’s Kitchen is dedicated to serving the whole person with dignity. Our clients come to us hungry—both in body and often in spirit. We serve them meals filled with as much nutrition as possible to nourish their bodies.
Priests, Sisters, deacons and lay people are available every day to tend to their spiritual needs. Our dining area, the Spiritual Center, is a place of peace and calmness where they can safely eat their meals and be exposed to Christ’s love. We also host nurses, health fairs and other community events to attend to their physical needs. We hope to bring them not just food, but also joy and a feeling of community and belonging.
Sophia’s Kitchen provides sack lunches Monday through Friday to anyone in need. We also provide a monthly food pantry and offer dog and cat food twice a month. Our parish nurse comes twice a week to provide basic healthcare and advice, with the OSF Care A Van coming monthly. In God’s great abundance, Sophia’s Kitchen has more than enough food to ensure no one goes hungry.
In addition to daily lunches, there is still enough food to pack grocery bags to take home. The pantry is stocked with fresh supplies at the end of each serving day, and by generous parishioners and others as they can.
On the last Friday of every month, Sr. Merlinda sets up a little store, filling tables with groceries. About 100 guests each month are able to take home bags of groceries to cook up for their loved ones.
Little Free Pantry
It is often more difficult for our guests to get food on the weekends. To address this issue, we established a Little Free Pantry stocked with nutritionally dense foods such as Nutri-Grain bars, nuts, nut butters, cans of soup, fruit, applesauce and pouches of tuna.
Guests of Sophia’s Kitchen don’t need to worry if they will be hungry on the weekends or after hours. The Little Free Pantry is stocked with emergency food and accessible 24/7. Anyone is welcome to help themselves to what they need.
Pet Food Pantry
We love our furry friends, too! On the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 1pm, Peoria County Animal Protection Services (PCAPS) and a volunteer brings food to share, as well as spay and neuter information and low-cost immunization information.
The most requested items are non-food items like dish soap, laundry detergent and toothpaste. Shampoo, feminine items, cleaners and paper products are also much needed. Small sizes are best, as most of our guests travel on buses or by foot.
We will happily accept cat and dog food donations, wet and dry. Treats and litter are also needed.
How to Help
We have 250 dedicated volunteers, from 12-year-old schoolchildren to 90 year-olds. Each volunteer brings unique talents and experiences to help our mission. They serve meals, wash dishes and help with food prep. Many color our lunch bags, bringing beauty to something as mundane as a brown paper bag, to uplift our guests’ spirits. We appreciate how each one keeps our facility sparkling and serve with such beautiful kindness.
Volunteers are always welcome and may apply at CatholicPeoria.com. There is a required two-hour online course and background check. Regular volunteers serve once a week for a four-hour shift, either morning or afternoon. Groups are welcome to help by appointment, usually at the monthly food pantry. Sophia’s Kitchen welcomes canned food drives. Call (309) 655-1578 for details.
103 S. Richard Pryor Place
Peoria, IL 61605
Sacred Heart Church
504 Fulton Street
Peoria, IL 61602
Fr. Alexander Millar
Fr. Jim Pankiewicz
Sr. Merlinda Marco