CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Hunger and homelessness are constant issues in Champaign. But the non-profit organization, the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, tackles that need every day.
But it takes volunteers like Charlie Brown Jr. to make their mission achievable. Brown, like the people he serves each day, was in a situation he wanted out of.
“I was strung out on drugs, I was homeless, I was a lot of different things that I experience here with these guests and it’s what brought me here. It’s one of the reasons I came here because now I have a way to give back.”
Brown is able to do that as part of the Food Crew and Street Patrol at the D.B.S.K. The Food Crew picks up food from the Eastern Illinois Food Bank, Gordon’s and more to be prepared for those in need. That allows 250 meals to be offered daily and 100 guest served.
The Street Patrol allows Brown to be outside ensuring guests are safe and respectful to all.
But he says there’s more work being done than filling empty stomachs.
“We’re not only a soup kitchen but also a social service agency because we offer other services besides food. If our guests need I.D.’s, birth certificates, bus passes, or need pointed in the right direction with a drug abuse problem, we have avenues to point our guests in that direction.”
Brown’s passion for giving back is shared by other volunteers like Brownie Kocher, who moved from Seattle and joined right as the pandemic began. But she says COVID-19 has limited her experience a bit.
“I like working with the public and so that was the main reason I started working here was because there was interaction with clients. So COVID has really put a crimp in that for those of us who like to be up front and like to interact.”
Kocher says there are many opportunities to volunteer regardless of COVID-19’s impact.
So if you would be interested in donating time or energy to the non-profit, click here.
To learn more about the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, please visit their website.