PAAR raises $25K for 28 area food pantries

PAAR REALTOR Michelle Nau with Rev. Craig D. Williams, co-executive director of the South Side Mission in Peoria. The mission is one of many helped by the PAAR annual turkey drive.

The Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® (PAAR) sponsored its 30th Annual Turkey Drive this holiday season, raising $25,000 to help individuals and families in the Peoria area to enjoy a meal this holiday season.

Monetary donations collected were used to purchase Kroger gift certificates distributed to 28 area food pantries in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and McDonough counties.

In addition to accepting monetary donations, specific area restaurants also donated a percentage of sales during designated times on specific days to benefit the PAAR CARES Turkey Drive. The PAAR CARES Foundation is a charitable organization where contributions are tax deductible.

“This was our 30th year in sponsoring the PAAR Turkey Drive. Over 37,000 turkeys have been donated to area food pantries over these past 30 years, to help families in need to enjoy a holiday meal,” said Jana Heffron, president of the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS®. “We expanded our program to invite members of the public to help contribute to our cause as well through the PAAR website at”

Every year, Peoria area REALTORS®, get involved in the “Annual Turkey Competition”, a friendly face-off between REALTORS® and companies to collect the most dollars raised. The winning real estate company receiving the travelling trophy this year is RE/MAX Traders Unlimited.

The annual PAAR Turkey Drive is a 30-year tradition which was started in 1986 with 100 donated frozen turkeys.

The Turkey Drive remains a steadfast tradition in helping to support the needs of our community and assist those who are struggling financially,” said Heffron. “Each of the organizations we serve has a growing list of individuals needing assistance. We extended our fundraising time to raise as much as possible. We thank the restaurants who also participated in this year’s program and the community for their support in helping us meet our fundraising goals. This is the most the REALTORS® have ever raised through our Turkey Drive with 100 percent of the funds going back to our community,” said Heffron.

Officers for PAAR are: Heffron (Keller Williams Premier Realty, Peoria), President-Elect Mary Ann Ladendorf (Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell, Pekin), and Secretary/Treasurer Suzanne Miller (Jim Maloof Realty, Inc., Peoria). PAAR is the “Voice for Real Estate” in the greater Peoria area, with over 700 members engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. PAAR advocates for property owners and on behalf of a healthy business community.

(This is the 14th in a series about the charitable community work performed by local Illinois REALTOR® associations and local offices during the last two months of the year. Previous stories were about the Capital Area, Champaign CountyEgyptianGreater Gateway, Kankakee Iroquois Ford, Lamoine Valley, Livingston County,  Northwestern IllinoisQuad City, Rockford AreaSouthwestern Illinois associations, as well as the Chicago YPN and the RE/MAX Traders Unlimited office in Peoria. To share a story idea, contact

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