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Why 2020 is officially the year of ‘Friends’ for BUILD Peoria

Think back to December. If you’re anything like me, you may have thought the worst thing 2020 was going to bring was ‘Friends’ leaving Netflix. Oh, to go back to simpler times…

Despite its departure from one streaming service and its launch on a totally new one, 2020 has truly been a year of lessons we can learn from ‘Friends.’ To start, we’ve had a few margaritas and we’re FINE!


Let’s be honest: it hasn’t been our day, our week, our month, or ESPECIALLY our year. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in ways we never could have imagined. Since we’re all aware of the negatives that have happened, let’s focus on the positive. For me, working from home helped me finally convince my husband to adopt a dog. We decided to name him Gunther, after everyone’s favorite barista.


In March, we knew what the answer would be when we asked local restaurant owners, “How you doin’?” Instead, we decided to spend a total of $2,000 on gift cards to give away to our Facebook followers. The goal of the Re-BUILD Peoria Stimulus Plan was to drive gift card winners to spend money at the businesses that have supported us without question over the past three years.


Like Joey with the entertainment center, after a few setbacks, we were able to finish the BUILD of a resident officer home in Peoria’s Near North Valley neighborhood. Our ribbon cutting on July 29th was like gum in an ATM vestibule: perfection. We’re excited to soon start construction on our next BUILD: shelters at CityLink bus stops throughout Peoria.

For the next 9 months, we’ll be fundraising to develop a Sculpture Garden at Donovan Park. We’re hoping to BUILD something that will “be there for you” for years to come.

Trying to plan a fundraiser during a pandemic is like trying to move a couch up a narrow apartment complex staircase. We’ve had to PIVOT from our usual Chili Cook-Off event. This year we will bring you “The One with the Appetizers.”


The BUILD Peoria Signature Appetizer Challenge will feature many of your favorite restaurants from past chili cook-offs, plus many newcomers. By purchasing a card, you’ll receive half off a signature appetizer at each of our supporting restaurants during the month of October (with a minimum purchase). If you’re like Joey and don’t like to share food, make sure your friends and family buy their own discount card!


We look forward to your support in the coming year. With a new event in the works, only one question remains: who will choose unagi as their signature appetizer?


Learn more about how you can support our mission here.

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