It’s food pick up time at CHUM’s location downtown. Those in need shuffle to the alley behind the Duluth Chamber, which is being blocked by a truck. Most of the those seeking a handout are men, part of the community of homeless that those who frequent downtown will likely recognize.
They come in taxis. They come with stolen shopping carts. They come for help, and don’t even bother to honor the generosity, some of which is funded by local Christian churchgoers when they leave their unwanted receipts in the alley – loaves of bread with a few slices missing strewn across the alley, partially drank half-gallons of milk. It leaves those who see these scenes week after week feeling like helping these people is as much of a waste as what they leave behind. (more photos coming soon).
Where are these folks coming from? A homeless woman interviewed in the Duluth News Tribune Point of Rocks article said that she came from the Twin Cities – for a change of scenery. How much of our homeless and drug crisis is imported from around the state and beyond? Who is paying for the cabs bringing them for the free food?
The food pick-up downtown creates a variety of issues for people downtown. Most obviously it migrates the homeless through downtown during business hours on a weekday. It creates dangerous situations for traffic with people wandering the streets, taxis stopping and the alley being blocked. And it creates a mess that the city has to waste time cleaning up.
This is a devastating look at Duluth – and one that we will continue to report on until positive change is made.