First day of CHUM’s annual turkey giveaway draws long lines

DULUTH, MN
DULUTH, MN(KBJR/CBS3 Duluth)
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 4:44 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN -- CHUM’s annual Thanksgiving dinner giveaway kicked off at 10 a.m. Monday, and all turkeys were gone in less than an hour.

CHUM’s director of distributive services Scott Van Daele says the giveaway has become a tradition for the local non-profit.

“We’ve done it for a long time and we feel like everybody deserves to have the same thing that everybody else has, regardless of where you live or how much you make, or where you work,” he said.

The giveaway aims to help Duluthians in need during the holiday season, so they can focus on things other than providing a holiday meal.

Van Daele said long lines like the one they saw Monday are typical.

“On a normal distribution day out here we’ll be done in about 30 minutes. So this is typical of a normal day for us,” Van Daele said.

Longer lines might mean more exposure for the giveaway, but Van Daele is adamant that it’s not a good sign.

“It’s just kind of frightening to see the need,” he said, “When I started we were at about 120... So it just keeps growing which is a scary thing and a sad thing at the same time.”

Van Daele knows that’s a problem he and the team of volunteers can’t fix.

“We’re not beating hunger, we’re just sort of continuing to live with it,” he said.

Still, he knows the job they’re doing is important.

This year, the organization will give out 300 birds, along with other Thanksgiving dinner staples like stuffing, vegetables, potatoes, and pie.

Volunteers with CHUM, like Tyler Nord, are eager to lend a helping hand wherever needed.

“Living in the Northland takes a lot of stuff. You see people pull up with stuff that they need simply to exist in our environment and then they pick up food,” he said.

Even when the weather is cold, Nord says spirits are warm and bright among the volunteers.

“You’d be surprised how cheery people are when they’re lifted and loaded and fastened out. Everyone’s in a pretty good mood,” he said.

“Everybody deserves to have a good Thanksgiving,” Van Daele added, “everybody deserves to have the same thing that everybody else has, regardless of where you live or how much you make, or where you work.”

The second day of turkey giveaways will take place Wednesday, November 23 at 10 am, at the CHUM Food Shelf in downtown Duluth.