C-U at Work
Our C-U at Work program began in August 2018 with a simple idea: give those in need the opportunity to earn an income by serving their community. A partnership between C-U at Home and the City of Champaign Township, the program began as a trash abatement and neighborhood beautification project. It has provided the opportunity for work and a ray of hope to over 100 men and women since its inception. Participants are generally already involved with our services. They must apply for the program and show progress toward gaining housing and full-time work while participating.
Since spring 2020, C-U at Work has also blossomed into a kind of farm-to-table blessing in our community. Work crews plant, cultivate, and harvest vegetables at Prosperity Gardens on First Street and the North Street urban farm. More than a dozen individuals were employed in the C-U at Work partnership with Prosperity Gardens during the 2022 growing season. They distributed fresh, organic produce at Mobile Market days around the community and at weekly farmers markets. Production expanded to a second location on North Street in 2022, and plans are underway to create an urban agriculture co-op that will allow people to receive a weekly produce selection through the purchase of shares in the project.
The seasonal work program runs March through October and employs individuals already engaged in our shelter programs. Some participants remain employed after working their way into permanent housing while they look for full-time employment. One participant has made the transition from shelter to being housed to employment as farm foreman by the Township.
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