The realities of hunger in South Dakota are unsettling, especially to those of us with plenty to eat.
Reliable research indicates that one out of every eight people in South Dakota is at risk of going hungry. Children are especially vulnerable, according to the hunger-relief organization Feeding South Dakota. One of every five South Dakotans under the age of 18 is at risk.
Senior citizens living below the poverty line also contend with food insecurity and depend on organizations such as Feeding South Dakota for help.
1 in every 8 people in South Dakota is at risk of going hungry.
Feeding South Dakota provides temporary food help to thousands of state residents every week. The organization, which has operations in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, is part of the Feeding America Food Bank Network, which promotes itself as the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.
The organization is attacking the state’s hunger problems on multiple fronts:
- Food pantries in Sioux Falls and Rapid City serve more than 80,000 people each year. More than 1.2 million meals are supplied. A mobile food pantry works out of Pierre.
- More than 5,000 backpacks with food are distributed to children every week.
- More than 2,700 boxes of food are provided to senior citizens every month.
SDN Communications of Sioux Falls is among the businesses that helps Feeding South Dakota chip away at its lofty mission to eliminate hunger in South Dakota. SDN employees regularly contribute cash, food and labor to the organization.
“I think it’s neat how many (SDN) employees get involved to help the hungry, especially this time of year.” says Kerri DeGraff, development director for Feeding South Dakota in Sioux Falls. “We so appreciate your support.”
Bill Heaston, vice president of legal and regulatory, is among the SDN employees who regularly assists Feeding South Dakota with donations and a helping hand. He has helped the organization pack food on several occasions in recent years. He also makes financial contributions.
“I find it a very worthwhile organization. It’s one I feel very good about and that my money is being put to good use,” Heaston says.
Feeding South Dakota and The Banquet, a Sioux Falls ministry that serves meals to hungry people, are the two organizations that he feels best about assisting, he says.
SDN and its employees also help The Banquet by providing and serving meals.
Feeding South Dakota addresses the challenge of hunger by providing food to people across the state. The organization depends on donations from companies and individuals to pursue its mission.
Abby Vostad, an executive assistant at SDN, chairs an employee committee called the Great Ideas Group, which encourages and assists worker involvement with Feeding South Dakota. Prior to Thanksgiving, SDN employees collected and contributed 28 turkeys and 28 hams to Feeding South Dakota. They also contributed about $1,000 in cash to the organization, Vostad says.
Heaston is among the SDN employees who can be counted on whenever SDN is occasionally called upon to physically help Feeding South Dakota, Vostad says. Helping the organization is a “no-brainer,” she says. No one at SDN has to worry about food.
“It’s not fair that people are hungry,” Vostad says.
Feeding South Dakota addresses hunger issue by administering two U.S. Department of Agriculture commodity-distribution programs in the state.
People and businesses can help the organization by donating food, money or time. For more information and how to help, visit the Feeding South Dakota website. You can email DeGraff or call 605-335-0364.