Hope, Gratitude and Giving Back

15 YEARS AGO, Eero Schultz came to Northern Minnesota due to unfortunate circumstances. Eero starts his story as a functioning alcoholic. Working during the day and drinking at night. He had lots of friends. Places he liked to go and visit. Eero didn’t think he had a problem. In his mind, he could quit drinking anytime but didn’t want to. His family, like many families, saw there was a problem and tried to help but Eero wouldn’t take the help. Then, after having some health issues and receiving the treatment he needed, Eero was on the road to recovery. Although he was doing well, he was struggling to make ends meet.

Looking for help, Eero decided to visit the Food Shelf at Second Harvest.

Upon arriving, he was very impressed with the volunteers and staff. The intake volunteer made Eero feel so good on that first visit. “She even remembered me and ask me how I was doing when I visited again,” said Eero. “It was the personal touch I was given in those moments that made such a difference to me. I felt like she cared about me and wasn’t judging me like so many others did.” Eero used the food shelf off and on for some time, only going when money got tight and he had to decide between paying a bill or buying food. “I really enjoyed receiving fruit and vegetables when I visited the food shelf,” said Eero. “They were way too expensive to buy at the grocery store. They were a luxury I could not afford to buy.”

Eero has now been sober for 15 years. He often thinks back to those days and how far he has come. There are still days when it is hard but he has surrounded himself with supportive people who want to see him succeed in his sobriety. He no longer uses Second Harvest even though he could. Eero believes there are people out there that need it more than he does. He also believes that it’s not about taking it’s about giving back to a community that helped him through some really hard times. Eero does this by donating to Second Harvest whenever he can, by volunteering at places like the Community Café, at his church and through AA as an off-the-wall Sponsor. We asked him what makes him want to give back? Eero said, “We have a good bunch of people in our community that really care about each other and really helped me out of a bind. So, I want to do what I can to give back. It is my way of saying thank you.”