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Giving Free Food For Five Years

May 2, 2014, 6:06 PM by Sammi Bjelland

Giving Free Food For Five Years
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

One group on the front-lines of feeding the hungry is Faith Temple Church.

It's weekly food giveaways started out small five years ago. Now, thanks to the generosity of its members, it gives away thousands of pounds of food each week.

"It's one of those things that's kind of bitter sweet, in that we're sad that it's needed to be this long of a period of time and the need does not seem to diminish but actually it is growing," Rhonda Hayes, who helped start the giveaway with husband Pastor Jeff Hayes, said. 

Over the past five years, the Faith Temple church has given away five million pounds of food. Every week about 1,200 people benefit from the free gift.

What started as a giveaway in the church parking lot quickly expanded and is now housed in a brand-new facility at the fairgrounds.

"Over these five years, we've also had food giveaways in our parking lot and drive-thrus where we've had 40,000 pounds of potatoes. But like today, we have about 20,000 pounds of food to give away," Jeff said. 

One reason they've been able to give away this much food week after week is the volunteers helping out. Greg Hallickson has been helping since the beginning.

"It just seemed like the right thing to do. I feel God blesses us for doing that," Hallickson said.

"We want to go out of business. We want to have plenty of people making it on their own, but we realize that there is still one in eight adults that are struggling for food and one in children that are struggling for food," Jeff said. 

One young girl who came through the line with her mom was especially grateful for a simple gift of a decorated cake.

"I reached down and handed them a cake and I said, 'Oh, I'm sorry.  It says Happy Birthday on it.' And the 13-year-old gal said, 'No, today is my mom's birthday!' And she said, 'And look.  It has a rose on it and my mom's name is Rose,'" Rhonda said. 

Stories like that are the reason the volunteers and organizers say they'll continue this mission until no one in the area needs them.

"It does meet the needs in the community. I feel. Anybody in Sioux Falls shouldn't go hungry," Hallickson said.

The Faith Temple Church gets donations from several sources. Friday, they served more than 8,000 pounds of bread from a local bakery.

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