People donated $50,000 and over 800 boxes of cereal during Duluth Cheerio Challenge

Results of the Duluth Cheerio Challenge

$50,000 and more than 800 boxes of cereal came in during the Duluth Cheerio Challenge

The results from the Duluth Cheerio Challenge are in, and people from Duluth and throughout Minnesota, and even across the country came together to donate more than 800 boxes of Cheerios and over $50,000 to area food shelves.

The contributions, while in response to negative comments made by a wealthy individual who recently purchased multiple properties in Duluth, send a strong message of how big-minded and big-hearted the Duluth community is.

A simple text message saying, “How do we start a campaign to get people to donate boxes of Cheerios to local food shelves?” started two friends who live or work in the Duluth area talking. From there, the idea was pitched to local Duluth Union organizer Chad McKenna, and the Duluth Cheerio Challenge was formed.

The challenge went live on Monday, March 25, with a Facebook page and press release. Within hours, local and state-wide media outlets picked up the story, helping to promote the six-day event, which solicited online financial contributions and encouraged residents to drop off boxes of Cheerios at the Duluth Labor Temple.

“I don’t think any of us expected the response that would come from this initiative,” challenge organizers Chad McKenna, Kate Van Daele and Dana Kazel said. “We thought that we would see some boxes of Cheerios come through the doors, and a few financial contributions, but to see the challenge stretch outside the Twin Ports, and even outside of Minnesota with donations from coast to coast was something that we didn’t anticipate.”

The group added: “Last week we saw hundreds of individual residents deliver boxes to lend their support, firefighters showed up with dozens of boxes, Duluth teachers donated over $1,000 to the cause, families and individuals having conversations with one another and finding a shared purpose and value for donating. The mutual support and fellowship that was seen last week not only in person but in the posts that were made on our Facebook page was very moving.”

Throughout the challenge, organizers continued to emphasize a positive focus, moving beyond the negative comments to instead highlight how the Duluth and greater community shows up for each other.

“The food and donations are great and help a lot,” said Chum’s Director of Distributive Services Scott Van Daele. “We hold food drives every year and the ones who respond are for the most part people within our community. To read the comments on social media that people across the country heard about our challenge and wanted to make a positive impact was something that I haven’t seen before.”

The impact of the challenge will be matched as a part of Minnesota FoodShare month for the total amount of donations and financial contributions raised within the month of March.

Together, the challenge organizers and representatives of Chum, Damiano Center, Salvation Army—Duluth, and Union Gospel Mission would like to thank everyone who donated to the challenge. The 813 various-sized boxes of Cheerios collected equals 10,569 servings of cereal that will be given to people experiencing food insecurity.