Summer BackPack Program
During the school year, nearly 5,000 children in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City receive packages of nutritious and kid-friendly food on a weekly basis through backpacks programs. When classrooms empty for the summer, access to school meals is limited. Statistics show that only one in seven children who ate free or reduced lunch during the school year also have the opportunity to participate in a summer meal program. This adds further strain to families who are already struggling to put food on the table. Here's a peak at how we're working to address weekend hunger during the summer months across the state.
During the school year, more than 30 schools in the Sioux Falls School District receive food packages on a weekly basis. When classrooms empty for the summer, access to school meals is limited. Any child under the age of 18 can eat lunch for free at Laura B Anderson, Hawthorne, Hayward, Terry Redlin, Anne Sullivan, Cleveland, Garfield, and the Child Nutrition Center.(Breakfast is available at select locations. Please refer to the map below.) After lunch on Thursdays, children are welcome to take a package of nutritious food home provided by the BackPack Program. Children can also go to the Boys and Girls Club, Embe (Downtown) and Our Savior's Lutheran Church to eat a free meal and receive a package of food. The Summer BackPack Program is largely funded by the generosity of area churches who recognize this very critical need for our area's youth.
(Summer 2018 Distribution Map)
In 2018, Capital Area United Way provided a generous $6,000 grant to Feeding South Dakota to pilot a Summer BackPack Program in the capital area to distribute to children in need of food assistance. This funding ensured that 120 children will receive a nutritious package of food for eleven weeks during the summer when access to the school lunch program is not a possibility for many children. Packages of nutritious food were distributed to children at Jeffereson Elementary School, South Dakota Urban Indian Health, Boys & Girls Club of the Capital Area, Fort Pierre Community Youth Center and Southeast Pierre Community Center.
For twelve weeks during the summer of 2018, Feeding South Dakota distributed 700 packages of nutrtious food each week to children who attend the summer feeding program. Seven local agencies receive the packages of food including The Boys Club, YFS and Rural America.