CHUM Food Shelf Getting Major Makeover Thanks to Leadership Duluth, Other Community Members

At no cost to CHUM, a large part of the building is being renovated.

DULUTH, Minn.- Starting this weekend, the CHUM Food Shelf on First Avenue West is getting a makeover, thanks to some help from Leadership Duluth and other businesses in the community.

“We’re really excited to give back to the community and there’s over 16,000 community members that walk through this door annually and it’s people just like you and me,” said Samantha Schmidt with Leadership Duluth.

This is the only major renovation in the building’s 17-year history with CHUM.

“It started off with let’s just paint the walls, let’s just get some new lighting and it really snowballed into finding out that we wanted to replace the flooring and then it was asbestos containing,” Schmidt said.

The first big hurdle was removing asbestos from the flooring, which hadn’t been touched since it was first used as a building material.

“Initially we just got called like any other abatement project to put together a price,” said Steve Proulx, President of ACCT Inc.

At first ACCT was just going to front a portion of the asbestos abatement, but thanks to some of their generous employees, the job became free.

“So then I was gonna donate a portion of the project and it just so happened that six of my top employees had a discussion and they decided to donate all of their time for free,” Proulx said. “I said we’ll just do the whole project for free.”

A $6,500 project done completely for free. Soon more businesses in the community donated materials and labor, alleviating any cost for CHUM.

“You live in your own little bubble most of the days and then when all of a sudden you go outside of your bubble and see how the community reacts to what you do, it’s really impressive to sort of see this community step up,” said CHUM’s Distributive Services Director, Scott Van Daele.

Now thanks to $50,000 in in-kind donations gathered by Leadership Duluth, the food shelf will get new flooring, new doors and windows, a fresh paint job inside and out, new furniture, and more.

“I think it’s gonna be a brighter, cleaner spot, obviously the floor will look a whole lot better, probably a little bit more safer ther won’t be nicks and cracks and bulges and all that sort of stuff coming through,” Van Daele said. “There’ll be some interesting new technology advances in here.

“It’ll be more client-friendly.”

CHUM is looking for more donations of food going into Minnesota Food Share Month this March

Renovations are expected to be completed by the beginning of June. “It is heartwarming,” Schmidt said, “it just makes me feel really proud and really appreciative to work in such an amazing community.”.

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