Not many companies would let more than 30 employees spend a large portion of the work day out of the office. But many AT&T employees spent their day filling bags with Thanksgiving meals. The company recently gave Feeding South Dakota a $7,000 grant to help purchase enough food for 300 meals. Wells Fargo added $2,250 to the cause.
"You know, when I sent the email out initially about doing this, I expected five or six people, and I got an email back a few days ago that said we'd have 35. It speaks to the fact that these people live and work in South Dakota and Sioux Falls and they want to be part of what's going on," Cheryl Riley of AT&T said.
The 300 meals being packed will head to the Sioux Falls Food Pantry. They include everything from the turkey, all the way to the pie.
"There's 300 more families out there that will be able to have what could be a luxury for them; just to have a turkey and some pie and the fixings to go with it, that they may not have if we were not doing this," Jennifer Stensaas of Feeding South Dakota said.
Corporate donations are critical all year for organizations such as Feeding South Dakota. But they're especially helpful in their mission around the holidays.
"I think this community has the capacity to give over and above. And every time we ask for something, we receive it and then some," Stensaas said.
And for those packing the bags, they may never meet the recipient on the other end of this project, but they know the donation and their time is well spent.
"To be able to help a family that may not have a Thanksgiving dinner really, it puts a lot of warmth in my heart," Riley said.
And looking at all of these bags, hundreds of families will likely feel that same way.
This is the first time Feeding South Dakota has put meals like this together for Thanksgiving.