Cooper and I went back to CHUM today to help unload their delivery from the local food bank. Once a month, they receive a large order and need as many hands as they can to unload and organize the food on their shelves and into their “shopping” area. We’ve been trying to make it back since the last time we went and were happy to finally find a time to help out.
In our last post about CHUM, we talked about the history and work of the organization. When we showed up to help out, though, we didn’t have a great understanding of the actual work they did. This time, one of the employees took the time to show us their process at the food shelf.
Every Wednesday and Friday, CHUM opens their door to the homeless and hungry of Duluth. Everyone who walks through the door receives “points” based on the amount of people in their household, and with those points they can shop for groceries. While we organize all of the food off of the truck and into the facility, volunteers walk around with customers helping them pick out items and package them up.
Homelessness has been a big topic lately in Duluth. Each year, St. Louis County does an unsheltered homeless count the results of which will help with funding for social service programming. The count began in late January, and this year volunteers hoped to focus on homeless youth. There are so many social service organizations in town already that work to help people in poverty, but even with all of those resources the number of unsheltered homeless seem to be so high. Just last year volunteers counted 150 people in the middle of winter and they acknowledged that they probably weren’t reaching everyone in the northern part of the county.
We loved having the chance to learn more about the process at CHUM and to get an idea of how many people they’re able to help each week. When you hear so much about the problem of poverty and homelessness in Duluth, it’s refreshing to see the more positive side of what we can do to assist others.
We volunteered at CHUM in honor of our friend, Connor Murphy, who donated to our campaign the very first day we posted it. We’ve been blown away by the support from friends and family, and it means a lot to us to have so many wonderful people in our life who are encouraging of our goals. Thank you, Connor! We’re looking forward to using your donation for some warm meals when we reach the Sierras, and we’ll be thinking of you as we shovel down Top Ramen and Knorr Pasta Side Meals!
The date is fast approaching, about seventy three days away! Some anxiety and fear of everything that could possibly go wrong has been settling in, but there’s also been a healthy mix of excitement and curiosity about what these six months will hold for us. By the end of this month, we’ll be out of our apartment and preparing to leave Duluth by mid-March, and then onto the warm, CA sun. Stay tuned for more updates to come!