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Summer Months Bringing Big Crowds To The Banquet

July 14, 2014, 6:30 AM by Kathleen Serie

Summer Months Bringing Big Crowds To The Banquet

The summer months are a busy time of year for one Sioux Falls nonprofit group that helps to provide a meal for people in need.

The Banquet sees some pretty big crowds during this time of year, and just this last month, the organization served over 17,000 meals to people in the Sioux Falls area, with almost 3,000 of those going to children under the age of 12.

From the end of May until about mid-October, the Banquet sees a significant rise in numbers. In June, the nonprofit served 2,000 more meals than it did in April, and there are several reasons for the increase.

"It's a lot easier for people to get around in the nice weather. We have a lot of people with disabilities that eat with us, elderly people who, when it's cold or when we have bad weather, it's not as easy for them to get to us, and in the summer, they can get here a little bit easier," The Banquet Executive Director Tamera Jerke-Liesinger said.

Another reason for the bigger crowds is because school is out, and families that might normally eat on the free or reduced school lunch program are left to find other means to feed the children. With this larger number of mouths to feed, the Banquet has a backup plan.

"We always make sure that we have a plan B. Because there have been times where we run out of the main course, but we always make sure that we have something to fall back on because we never turn anybody away not having had a meal," Jerke-Liesinger said.

Which means the volunteer groups that prepare and pay for the meals are even more important in the summer months. Travis Fink has been volunteering here for about three years, and other than helping others in need, his favorite part about the process is sending a positive message to his daughter.

"It's rewarding to pass that on to our younger generation. I have my daughter here today, and she's going to hopefully view what us adults are doing so that will carry on to next generation. That's the reward for me," Volunteer Travis Fink said.

Because the summer months are a popular time for vacations and time away from home, Jerke-Liesinger says the Banquet sees an increased need for new volunteers.

For more information, contact The Banquet at 605-335-7066, or

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