O’Brien Toyota of Peoria


How do you help hardworking medical workers and support local restaurants at the same time? A general manager at an Illinois dealership found a way with the help of his community.

Hundreds of meals from local restaurants have been served to hardworking medical workers thanks to “The Peoria Community Rocks” fundraiser.

Greg Whitten had two goals in mind when he started a fundraiser during the COVID-19 pandemic:

• Find a way to help overwhelmed medical workers
• Support local restaurants

The general manager of O’Brien Toyota of Peoria, Illinois, started a GoFundMe on March 21. Since then, it’s raised more than $12,500, providing hundreds of meals to medical facilities, including OFS HealthCare and UnityPoint Health.

“We don’t know where the end is,” Whitten told a local NBC news station of the toll from the pandemic.

With local bars and businesses only open for to-go and delivery orders and medical workers “spread thin and stressed,” Whitten kickstarted the fundraiser he dubbed “The Peoria Community Rocks” to show his support and thanks.

Greg Whitten’s “The Peoria Community Rocks” campaign has helped support medical workers and local bars and restaurants.

But he hasn’t done it alone. Whitten has recruited help from team members at O’Brien Toyota of Peoria.

“We’re ready to match any donation by a local business, business owner, corporation, up to the first $1,000 that comes through,” Whitten says.

The Publik House, Peoria Pizza Works and WE Sullivan’s Irish Pub are among the restaurants the fundraiser has supported, and Whitten said he hopes to expand the initiative to provide meals to police officers as well.

OSF HealthCare sent a letter to thank Whitten, the dealership and the community for their generosity.

“You make many smile, fill their tummies and bring joy to their hard work,” the OSF Mission team wrote.

You can make donations and follow the fundraiser on its GoFundMe page, “The Peoria Community Rocks.”


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