Now, as ever, we believe it is important to give back to our community and our planet. Each year, we are proud to support numerous charitable events and organizations through product donations or by partnering to organize events in support of sustainability, social responsibility, environmental education or outdoor recreation organizations. This year, despite so much change, we remain committed to our mission to enhance people, the planet, and our company in everything we do.
Public parks and outdoor spaces are something we’re very passionate about, and we are proud to be a partner of Growing Up Chester, helping to fund much needed renovations to the Thom Storm Chalet, the heart of the park and the home base for the park’s quality programming. We kicked off our multi-year partnership with a $25,000 donation to the Growing Up Chester campaign on behalf of Chester Bowl. This donation is part of Loll’s commitment to 1% for the Planet – a group of businesses financially committed to keeping our planet blue and green – through which we donate 1% of our Lollygagger collection sales annually to environmental organizations like Growing Up Chester. In our 12th year as a member we’re abiding by the theory of thinking globally and acting locally with our donations. For generations, Chester Bowl has played an integral role in connecting Duluthians of all ages with the outdoors and fostering a life-long love of the natural world. We are honored to help ensure this tradition continues.
Since 2008, Loll and other local businesses have come together to improve local watershed. This includes partnering with the city forester to plant trees as well as a creek clean up. Clean Yer Creek started as its own event seven years ago and has grown from cleaning one creek to now maintaining three of our city’s creeks and ecosystems connected to Lake Superior. The COVID-19 pandemic may have foiled the annual event this spring, but the commitment of Duluthians to stewardship of their environment couldn’t be kept indoors for long. This year, Loll teamed up with Involta, Flint Group, and the City of Duluth to expand the reach of clean-ups throughout the community and create a new initiative called “Keep Duluth Clean.”
Our CEO Greg Benson envisioned an expansion of Clean Yer Creek: the whole city involved for one day of the year to simply spend a few hours cleaning up around neighborhoods and parks. For the fall 2020 season, Keep Duluth Clean was a part of the “Twin Ports Virtual Coastal Cleanup” as the Cities of Duluth and Superior partnered for one day of clean up in the twin ports. And, as reported by the Duluth News Tribune, “The cleanup was [also] part of a global project called the International Coastal Cleanup, which promotes cleanups in the spring and fall to keep garbage from contaminating waterways.”
The Keep Duluth Clean fall clean-up was a success, bringing Duluthians together safely outdoors. Adults and kids alike learned about the various watersheds in Duluth tucked away amidst the city, all of which run to Lake Superior. Neighbors cleaned trash out of the waterways themselves, as well as in areas that carry debris into the waterways. Through the partnership with the city, the volunteers capped off the clean-up by painting storm drains with reminders to keep the paths of flowing water free of trash and debris. Hopefully these reminders will mean less to clean up at the next event!
We continue to prioritize community in other ways, including a new partnership with CHUM, which provides emergency shelter services in downtown Duluth. The food shelf provides five-day food orders for food-insecure people and connects guests with advocacy services to help them find community resources like shelter, medical care, children’s services, employment, clothing and emergency monies. We are honored to be able to support such an important community organization through the donation of furniture, including dining furniture and lounge chairs, to create a warm and welcoming environment in the waiting area of the CHUM Food Shelf.
The current pandemic has, if anything, strengthened our relationships to the natural world, to our shared public spaces and to each other. We are grateful for the opportunity to be of service to and foster greater appreciation for the outdoors and we hope these conservation, community enrichment and clean-up projects inspire others to get involved in caring for their natural surroundings and the people they share them with.