Over the next year, Feeding South Dakota will be looking at ways to increase the number of meals they serve. One of the biggest ways to do that is by expanding.
"We've known for a significant amount of time at all of our locations, we've reached capacity for our ability to handle and store food," Feeding South Dakota Executive Director Matt Gassen said.
It's quickly becoming a serious problem, having to turn away certain donations because there simply is no room. Starting Friday, they will begin raising money to pay off their new facility in Rapid City, find a bigger building in Pierre and find a new spot to combine their two locations in Sioux Falls.
"If we look at providing 10 and a half million meals to fight hunger in South Dakota every year and looking to increase that amount significantly with this expansion, and that's what this expansion is really going to enable us to do," Gassen said.
The expansion will help their ultimate goal of serving around 16 million meals in South Dakota a year, cutting the state's hunger gap in half by the year 2020.
One of the biggest areas of concern for Gassen is the ability to store produce in what is now very limited freezer space.
"We've got to prepare to be able to handle more and more of that produce, because we know, too, that not only is it going to be available, but it's good product. It's a product that we need to be working on trying to distribute," Gassen said.
As their fund raising effort begins, Feeding South Dakota hopes to find their perfect new buildings.
"I think that's always our first choice, to try and find a building that we could retrofit to meet our needs, but if we can't then we'll look at something else if we have to try to secure some property and build," Gassen said.
The campaign is being split into three stages. They are hoping to pay off their Rapid City building by the end of this year, then they will move on to finding a new building in Pierre and by next fall, their focus will be on Sioux Falls.