CHUM food shelf in need of volunteers

Updated: June 03, 2020 06:45 PM

As part of WDIO's Creating Change campaign, we are highlighting the need in the community for food shelf services. CHUM is in need of help at its food shelf right now.


They've been making food boxes for those struggling in our community since they can't let people in the food shelf anymore due to COVID-19 health concerns. CHUM needs help from volunteers to help pack the over 70 food boxes they prep twice a week to distribute to community members.

Chum staff and volunteers said this service is really important and even more now. Since the health pandemic started, CHUM has made the pre-packed food boxes to hand out those in need in the community and it has been a big success during the financial challenges many have been facing.

"It feels good to help people. There's a lot of work that needs to be done and we have to make sure that we continue this really essential service in our community," said Mary Schmitz, a volunteer. 

"We're looking for a substantial like 10 people to come in and help us do it. If we don't have volunteers, then it's harder for us to pack the amount of boxes we need every day that we're open," said Scott Van Daele, the CHUM distributive services director.

The mission to continue serving and helping people in need is the reason volunteers say it's important to help.

"When I was working at the door, it was just amazing how many people were so thankful. They just were like, thank you so much for doing this, this is really helping me," said Schmitz.

In each box they pack about 50 pounds of food that has produce, meat, dairy and more. CHUM is also looking into purchasing a van for the food shelf so they can distribute more food.

"For us to have a truck that can hold and carry two tons worth of weight, about 4,000 pounds of food, it will help us to get more food in and get more food out," said Van Daele.

They hope to get enough donations to help this effort and are grateful for the generosity they've seen from the community.

"The increase in demand for the boxes and then also an increase in donations is really great, which is something you don't really seem to think might be possible that people are donating more, but our donations have skyrocketed," said Van Daele.

CHUM staff and volunteers hope to see that generosity at the food shelf.

"We could always use volunteers and if anybody wants to come down they can feel free to help out. CHUM is a really great community to help out," said Jonas Eske, a volunteer.

Volunteers are needed Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The food boxes are distributed outside the food shelf Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m.

To volunteer, call the CHUM food shelf at 218-727-2391.

To donate to CHUM for the food shelf truck, you can mail checks to: CHUM Food Shelf - 120 North 1st Ave. West, Duluth, MN 55802.

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