SOUTH DAKOTA [June 24, 2020] – Since mid-March, Feeding South Dakota continues to prepare for and serve 2.5 times the number of households typically served, distributing 2.3 million pounds of food across the state in the last ten weeks.
Feeding South Dakota prepares to serve as many as 10-thousand households each week through its Mobile Food Pantry Program which distributes food in more than 90 communities in 56 of the state’s 66 counties. A full listing of distribution locations, dates and times can be found online at https://feedingsouthdakota.org/our-programs/mobile-food-distributions/. All mobile food distributions continue to be held in drive-thru fashion to maintain good physical distance.
The food supply chain remains very thin, non-perishable donated food product is nearly extinct throughout the Feeding America network. To fill the gap, Feeding South Dakota is using cash donations to purchase foods through Feeding America’s purchase product program along with regional food bank collaborations. Shipping costs are trending higher as well during this unprecedented pandemic. The organization continues to pick up food at local retailers including Walmart, Safeway, Target, Family Fare, Sam’s Club, Sara Lee, Loaf n Jug, Timmons Grocery, HyVee, Fareway and Costco just to name a few. Feeding South Dakota is still accepting food drive food along with fresh produce from local gardens.
During the past three months, Feeding South Dakota has found new ways to work more efficiently, allowing us to distribute more food to those in need, specifically in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. When announced that the food pantries in both locations were closed, all processes shifted quickly to emergency food box packing.
In Rapid City, the 13 neighborhood distributions quickly converted to one centralized community food distribution at the Central States Fairgrounds. Drive-thru food distributions take place each Wednesday from 10am – 12pm. Guests are asked to visit the distribution every other week and to bring a photo ID to check in. This allows the organization to manage food resources, ensuring those most in need have continued access to food.
In Sioux Falls, Feeding South Dakota first moved food distributions to five community centers throughout town, mainly to create access points in neighborhoods and to ensure children that would typically be served through the BackPack Program continued to have access to food. After several weeks of operating in this format, the distributions shifted to one centralized community food distribution held at the Expo Building at the W. H. Lyon Fairgrounds. After seven weeks, the centralized distribution moved to the Fareway store, previously located at 1431 W 41st St. The organization continues to distribute food each Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm – 7pm. Individuals and families in need are asked to pre-register for their first visit online at https://www.helplinecenter.org/foodsf/ or call 211. Guests are asked to bring their photo ID to the distribution to check in and are eligible to return every other week.
Over the next several months, Feeding South Dakota’s centralized community food distributions in Rapid City and Sioux Falls will transition into neighborhood distributions, taking mobile food pantries into the most needed neighborhoods in both communities. In making this transition, we plan to serve more individuals and families with nutritious food in the neighborhoods where they live and work. As a result, the food pantries in Rapid City and Sioux Falls will remain closed.
Feeding South Dakota continues to work with its network of more than 250 non-profit agency partners, ensuring that individuals in the most rural of communities continue to have access to food. The organization has used grant awards from Jeff Bezos and Feeding America to purchase coolers, equipment, and basic supplies for targeted agencies to aid in new methods of food distributions.
Volunteers are needed now more than ever before. As communities across South Dakota prepare to return to “the new normal”, our organization will be continue to focus on serving an increased number of households over the next six to twelve months.. Feeding South Dakota cannot do this work alone. Volunteer opportunities can be found online at www.feedingsouthdakota.org/volunteer
Cash donations are needed to continue to procure and transport donated and purchased product to South Dakota. For every $1 donated, Feeding South Dakota can provide 3 meals to the nearly 100,000 South Dakotans who are food insecure. Please continue to donate online at https://feedingsouthdakota.org/how-to-help/donate-funds/.