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‘It’s amazing to see:’ Galesburg restaurants step up to make Hope House Christmas meal

Hope House, 156 N. Seminary St., is a volunteer-driven community platform.
Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio
Hope House, 156 N. Seminary St., is a volunteer-driven community platform.

The free meal will be served from noon to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day.

On the heels of serving a free, no questions asked Thanksgiving meal, Galesburg’s Hope House is gearing up for Christmas dinner.

But this time, local restaurants will be making the food.

“Not because their name was going to be on a sign or because they were going to get any credit for it, but just to be a part of it,” said Diane Crock, who runs Hope House with Champ Coleman and a team of volunteers.

Craft on Seminary Street will be making roast beef and gravy, while The Landmark Café and Creperie across the street is in charge of the mashed potatoes.

Iron Spike and The Packinghouse are in charge of vegetables. Others including Black Market Bagels, Malley Farms, Orange Cup Java, and Grandview Restaurant are all chipping in to round out the meal as well.

Crock said Hope House is best described as a community platform.

“It’s not about us,” she said. “We connect people and we can bring people together and make something good. It’s amazing to see.”

Hope House Hero
Hope House opened this fall at 156 N. Seminary St., in space provided by First Lutheran Church.

It’s now the primary location for the direct services of the Galesburg Downtown Depot, including free hot meals on Mondays, food and hygiene pantries, and distribution of coats, blankets, and other clothing.

All programs are no questions asked. It’s fueled by volunteers and community donations, with a growing number of people getting involved.

“The biggest thing we want people to know is you don’t have to do a lot to make a difference. Just doing a little bit each time something comes up can make a huge difference,” Crock said.

Easton Murdock-Hull, 11, was just named the first Hope House Hero for his work collecting blankets.

His grandmother, Kristie Murdock, said they recently learned about Hope House and were inspired to get involved.

“Two things really stood out to me. The fact that they serve hot meals, especially on holidays,” Murdock said. “The second thing, they do everything no questions asked. People can go and get what they need and feel comfortable.”

Murdock-Hull ended up collecting more than 130 brand-new blankets for his annual holiday service project.

A third of those are going to Hope House, with others designated for the Rescue Mission, Safe Harbor, the Galesburg winter warming shelter, and Recharge Teen Center in Monmouth.

1,200 meals
Crock said for Thanksgiving, Hope House’s team of volunteers sourced and prepared the food, which included 36 turkeys.

They originally had a goal of serving 1,000 meals.

“Then we just let the donations and the need take it from there. We ended up giving out a little over 1,200 meals,” Crock said.

Around 800 of those meals were picked up or eaten on-site, with the rest delivered to those who couldn’t get there in person.

That’s again the plan for the Christmas Meal, which will be served from noon to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Signs will be posted behind First Lutheran Church for pickup, and some seating will be available inside.

Crock said there is no limit on how many meals people can take.

And there’s still room for other restaurants to add their special touches to the Hope House Christmas meal, and for more volunteers to get involved.

Those interested in volunteering or donating can email

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.