The smell of freshly made food fills the air as the Soup Kitchen opens in the morning. A crowd that looks tired and gloomy gathers at the Damiano Center. The people who gather brighten up as the many volunteers and workers serve them a warm meal.
Though most attendees are unrelated-or perhaps just got to know each other that morning-the room, now bustling with people carrying trays of warm food finding seats, resembles a heart-warming reunion.
CSS Community Day is a way of bringing people together for a common cause. The College encourages students, as well as faculty, to give back to their community by setting aside one day each semester to serve the community.
Volunteers have been the heart and soul of the Damiano Center since its beginning as individuals and groups of volunteers lend a helping hand in all aspects of Damiano. One of those aspects is the Soup Kitchen.
Each year, over 500 people donate their time to help serve people in the Soup Kitchen. Volunteers assist in the preparation, serving and clean up of all meals under the supervision of a cook and dishwasher. For each shift there are up to seven volunteers. Each shift lasts approximately five hours.
“The great thing about the Damiano is the sense of community you get there,” Drew Smith, a volunteer at the Soup Kitchen, said. “The people that come here truly appreciate the things we do.”
The food service manager at the Damiano, Sandy Bennett, hopes that the center will continue to grow, and that the good people in the Duluth community will still donate and keep making the center better suitable for those who need it.
The Damiano Center has always been a place of growth, for it has helped a tremendous amount of people. Today, the center feeds around 300 people per day, all because of donations from local organizations and grocery stores.
“Everything that happens at Damiano is because of the Duluth community,” Smith said.“We are truly blessed to be in a community that continues to meet our needs all the time.”
The Damiano Center is located in an area of Duluth known for a high crime rate, yet this place is where people come together and make everyone feel a part of the community.
This community day, a number of CSS students have learned that sometimes feeling like an important addition to something is all it takes to brighten a person's gloomy day amid a life of trials and tribulations.