The economy has dealt a tough hand to Feeding South Dakota. Over the last few years, demand has sky rocketed while fewer people are able to donate. While indicators show the economy may be improving, the non-profit says more families than ever continue battling hunger in KELOLAND.
"We never seem to have enough when we need it," Feeding South Dakota’s Jim Dawson said.
Last year, the non-profit distributed more than 12 million pounds of food to families fighting hunger in every county in South Dakota.
The food pantries in both Sioux Falls and Rapid City set records for the most clients served in a single day.
"We expect it to climb, we really do," Dawson said. "The economy is improving for a lot of people, but it takes a lot longer for the people that are on the other end of that spectrum to be impacted in a positive way."
One major concern this year is the increase at the gas pump. National speculation points to record high prices by May. Donations could dwindle as shipping costs take a bit out of the organization's budget.
But Dawson admits those hit hardest will be hungry families, especially in rural areas.
"People that are in need really struggle when prices go up, whether it is food prices, gas prices, utilities because they don't have any flexibly in their budget," Dawson said.
Dawson says the organization plans to find alternative resources to better help with the expected increase in the coming months, but says nutritious donations will help feed those battling hunger in South Dakota.