sioux falls, sd
The YWCA in downtown Sioux Falls is offering free breakfast and lunches to area kids this summer. While it has had thousands come through the doors, it's not as many as they were expecting.
A free lunch at the YWCA ensures Sherrie Beniot that her children will get a nutritious meal.
"All the food groups, some times they even have chocolate milk," Sherrie Beniot said.
This summer, they've come for breakfast or lunch three to four times a week.
Director of Childcare Services Karla Johnson is predicting they'll serve around 15,000 children this summer. While that is on par with the last two years, the YWCA was expecting a bigger jump.
"Heat could have been a source of a lower number of children certainly because children do get here by foot; they get here on their bicycles. So, children, it may have been too hot for them," Karla Johnson said.
Heat may have deterred some kids from coming in during the week, but the YWCA says it’s still seen large numbers on Fridays and that could be due to the backpack program.
"On Fridays, our backpacks are gone completely by the end of the serving day," Johnson said.
Each Friday, they give out 50 Feeding South Dakota Backpacks, first come first serve. It's enough food to get a child through the weekend. Johnson thinks that on top of free lunch has made braving the heat on those days more bearable.
"It just again proves how important programs like this and the backpack program are for families in our area," Johnson said.
Beniot drives her family, so heat hasn't been an issue. But the free meal is still a major benefit.
"The lunches are very helpful, and convenient," Beniot said.
The YWCA will offer their free summer breakfast and lunch program until Friday August 17.