Peoria, Ill. (July 20, 2021) – A new, state-of-the art commercial kitchen funded in part by Ameren Illinois will enable Dream Center Peoria to serve high-quality meals to its guests and residents while providing culinary arts training for students and the homeless.
"Individuals and families who visit or stay at our facility deserve meals served with dignity and excellence. It's a very important part of building self-worth and putting individuals on a path that is free from the constraints of poverty," said Andy King, Executive Director of Dream Center Peoria. "We're grateful that Ameren Illinois has once again stepped up to provide the financial resources to fulfill an important need at Dream Center Peoria. With their help, we will complete construction of a kitchen and training space that everyone can be proud of."
King says that the renovation project is expected to be completed around Christmas of this year and will include a new loading dock, new mechanical equipment, as well as new condensing units, and many other amenities. Cooking and baking classes will be added to the Center's Job Skills/Trades program for elementary and high school youth, and new culinary training programs will be offered to DCP's homeless residents.
Ameren Illinois has a long standing partnership with Dream Center Peoria, funding several projects and improvements including a new bus to transport students to the Center's after school programs.
"When I met Andy and toured the Dream Center several years ago, I was impressed with his passion and commitment for getting our youth and mothers off the street and on the path to self-sufficiency," said Richard J. Mark, Chairman and President, Ameren Illinois. "Being able to provide the final piece to make the new kitchen a reality is so rewarding because we know how critical these services are to the Dream Center's residents, guests, and students."
The grant funds were made possible through the Ameren Cares Program, which is just one way Ameren Illinois is empowering the communities it serves through charitable giving and volunteering. Mark said the key focus of the Ameren Cares Program is to partner with nonprofit organizations such as the Dream Center Peoria to help empower and improve the quality of life of Ameren Illinois' communities within its service territories.