Since 2011, we have seen an increase in the reliance on emergency food programs by almost 800,000 meals annually. Families and individuals who were once donors are now standing in line at soup kitchens and food pantries. Those in need of food assistance include children, the working poor, older adults, veterans, physically and mentally disabled, and the homeless.
More important, those in need of food assistance are our neighbors, coworkers, and the parents of our kids' friends. They are the mother carefully checking prices in the grocery store, weighing each item against another to make sure she can pay at the register. They are the elderly couple down the road who can only afford one meal a day. They are the coworker who skips lunch every day because they had an unexpected medical emergency take a huge toll on their family's budget.
Of the individuals who rely on Feeding South Dakota:
- Nearly 50% are under the age of 18
- 11% are 60 years old or older
- 78% live in households with incomes at or below the federal poverty level
- 77% of all clients have a high school degree or GED, 23% have post-high school education
- In 66% of households, the most-employed person worked in the last 12 months, in 43% of households, the most-employed person worked in the last four weeks
- 13% of households include grandparents who have responsibility for their grandchildren
- 19% of families have someone in their house who served in the US Armed Forces