CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — C-U at Home is celebrating the two-year anniversary of it’s counterpart program, C-U at Work.
Executive Director Rob Dalhaus said in a release the combination trash abatement and city beautification project has “blossomed into a kind of farm-to-table blessing for our community’s most vulnerable citizens.”
The program has served 125 men and women who otherwise wouldn’t have had a source of income. For their work across the city, they’d earn $10 per hour, four hours a day, each week, all while searching for more permanent housing and work in the meantime.
“At first, a City Council person would hear about a trash problem somewhere and our team would go and take care of it,” Steven Harper, Housing and Outreach Coordinator for C-U at Home, said in a release. Crews were called upon to take care of trouble spots and help clean up after events at the University of Illinois. “
“Eventually,” he said, “we found out by doing where the needs were.”
Since last spring, the program has taken on a new challenge: growing vegetables at Prosperity Gardens, 302 N. First Street in Champaign. Workers gather early in the morning at the nearby Phoenix Center, then they spend the morning planting, cultivating, weeding, and — more recently — harvesting the vegetables that will be donated to the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen.
“They took over 100 pounds of tomatoes over there just today,” Harper said.