The Sioux Falls Ministerial Association formed a community food pantry. Their objective: to have a centralized place where those in need of food would go to receive groceries.
Alyce McKay, Eleanor Frost, and Linda Lea Viken formed the Black Hills Regional Food Bank, Inc. The purpose of the Food Bank was to distribute donated food to partner non-profits serving needy people. With a humble beginning, the Black Hills Regional Food Bank initially distributed food out of a garage. By December, the Food Bank had moved operations to the National Guard Camp.
The Sioux Falls Food Pantry partnered with America's Second Harvest (now Feeding America) and changed its name to The Food Service Center, Inc. Local support and an allocation from America's Second Harvest allowed the organization to grow and thrive in its mission to relieve hunger in the region. In the year after it changed its name, The Food Service Center, Inc. distributed 82,273 pounds to 20 organizations in Minnehaha County.
The Sioux Falls Food Pantry moved to Phillips Ave, where it remained until 2015. The Food Service Center in Sioux Falls distributed 166,954 pounds of food, a 103% increase in five years.
In order to meet the need in the eastern portion of the state, the Food Service Center moved to a new warehouse on North 1st Street in Sioux Falls. Distribution reached one million pounds annually.
After relocating several times in ten years, the Black Hills Regional Food Bank moved into a 14,000 square foot facility on North Maple Ave. By the end of the year, the food bank was distributing over 1.3 million pounds of food to 150 partner non-profit organizations.
The Black Hills Regional Food Bank became an affiliate of America’s Second Harvest. By this time, the food bank in Rapid City was serving 9 counties, covering 19,321 square miles in western South Dakota.
In January of 2004, The Food Service Center, Inc. in Sioux Falls and The Black Hills Regional Food Bank, Inc, in Rapid City merged and renamed to the Community Food Banks of South Dakota, Inc. This merger brought together a combined 45 years of experience in providing hunger relief to people in South Dakota.
A task force was established to create a food bank operation in Pierre under the direction of the Mayor of Pierre. A food bank was needed to capture food donations that were going to waste in the area. In May of 2010, the Feeding South Dakota Pierre Food Bank opened in the former Pepsi warehouse. This provided Feeding South Dakota with a centralized location in the state to distribute to 26 counties. Within a year, the location distributed its 1 millionth pound of food.
This same year, the Community Food Banks of South Dakota, Inc. was rebranded with a new name and logo. As the organization transformed from a pantry/food bank into a hunger relief organization, “Feeding South Dakota” was chosen to better represent the mission and scope of the organization.
By 2012, it was clear that all three food banks, and both food pantries, had out grown their buildings. The Food Pantries in Rapid City and Sioux Falls were too small serve the need in their communities. The Food Banks in all three locations were forced to turn away food donations, especially fresh produce, meat, and dairy products, because of a lack of storage space.
This year, Feeding South Dakota embarked on a multi-year capital campaign, a fundraising campaign specifically aimed at increasing, updating, and expanding the facilities across the state.
In January 2013, the Rapid City Food Bank and Food Pantry moved into a new location on Creek Drive. With many individuals served by Feeding South Dakota giving up fresh produce, diary, and meat items in order to stretch their grocery budget, the expanded freezer and cooler facilities in the new building allow Feeding South Dakota to provide more of the food items most in demand.
This same year, Feeding South Dakota began its newest program: the Mobile Food Pantry Program. Food Insecurity in rural areas of the state is a constant problem. Not only are individuals farther from grocery stores, many individuals in need live far from any food assistance programs. Operating out of the Pierre Food Bank, the aim of the Mobile Pantry Program is to bring food directly to individuals and communities dealing with hunger.
In the spring of 2016, the new Food Bank facility opened in Pierre. With 40% more food storage and distribution capacity, and a dedicated loading area for the Mobile Food Pantry, the Charles H Burke Center for Hunger Relief is equipped to fight hunger in central South Dakota.
The final step in the statewide capital campaign and improvement came in the summer of 2016. The Sioux Falls Food Bank and Food Pantry moved into a brand new facility on north Westport Avenue. With well over double the storage capacity, including room for eight semi-trucks worth of frozen food and over five semi-trucks worth of refrigerated food, the new facility can better meet the need in the eastern third of South Dakota.