Douglas Peruski has become a fixture of the arts community in Duluth, Georgia, where he has lived and worked for most of his life. And as a waiter at the Greek restaurant Achilles, he is also a fixture in its food community. Now, he is also becoming a familiar face to the homeless of Duluth.
Since late 2013, Douglas Peruski has been volunteering at The Ladle, a soup kitchen that is committed to feeding the area’s hungry. “I have thought about it, on and off, for a long time – too long, really,” he says. “I decided it was time to put up or shut up.”
Douglas Peruski says that he has always been troubled by the issue of homelessness and hunger in the United States, especially that in Duluth, his own back yard. “We’re the wealthiest country on the planet and love to boast about that fact,” he says. “And yet we have people who are facing acute hunger issues, every single day of their lives. I know that serving meals at The Ladle isn’t much more than putting a band aid on the problem, but at least it’s a start. And one of these days I’ll figure out a way to do a whole lot more.”
His first shifts at the Ladle were last Thanksgiving, and Douglas Peruski was so impressed by the experience that he kept coming back. The Director of The Ladle, who also is director of the Duluth Food Bank, gave Douglas Peruski some things to think about that he had never before considered. “I never heard the term ‘food insecurity’ before I talked to her,” he says. “It isn’t the same thing as poverty.” Douglas Peruski was stunned to learn that some forty-nine million people in the United States face food insecurity every day. And so he kept coming back to The Ladle and has been volunteering there two days a week ever since.