Courtesy of Moody County Enterprise, March 21, 2018.
Feeding South Dakota’s stop in Flandreau helped 57 families last week stretch their budgets with fresh, frozen and canned food.
The mobile food pantry based in Sioux Falls is doing a trial project to find out how it can better provide access to food for three underserved counties in the state, including Moody County, said Tony Burke, operations director. The initial stop in Flandreau will give Feeding South Dakota some information on where the need is and how best to feed hungry people in smaller communities, without expecting people to come to a traditional food pantry.
“Maybe we need to do the opposite. Maybe we need to go where the hunger is,” he said.
The event was held in the Maynard’s parking lot Tuesday at the only grocery store in the county. Store general manager Mike Witte helped provide bags so people could fill them with free bread and other bakery items.
“It was a very positive event,” said Witte, who hopes to be more involved in future stops in Flandreau.
He knows the importance of providing food for all types of family budgets and sees customers who have to buy cheaper, less nutritious foods such as hotdogs, chips and canned soup. He liked seeing that the box of frozen food given out included meat.
“That will go a long way for a lot of these families,” he said. Those in line also received potatoes, onions, apples and cheese for fresh foods.
The food came pre-packed in two banana boxes that workers helped carry to people’s cars or the ICAP bus for those who don’t have transportation. The line was steady during the giveaway and people didn’t have a long wait on the mild March day.
Feeding South Dakota is part of Feeding America and can buy food at low prices. In addition to financial gifts, it also gets donated food, including some through drives that various organizations support.
Burke said he was impressed that Witte wants to help donate surplus food to the next drive. “That was extremely generous,” he said.
Burke said the demographics of those who came included a higher percentage of middle-aged people and older, but there also were some young families. Some walked to get the food and carried roughly 40 pounds of food home.
The organization asked people a couple of questions before they received food. The answers to whether they have had to choose between buying food and paying other bills and whether they have had to skip a meal will indicate whether someone is “food insecure,” a term meaning someone has limited or uncertain access to nutritious food.
“It’s always surprising the need in general,” Burke said. “Our hope is to reach more people.”