Banquet West is officially open.
Every Wednesday in the Nordstrom-Johnson Multipurpose Building at the fairgrounds, the same warm meal that people were able to get downtown can now be enjoyed by people in Western Sioux Falls. It is a major step that was years in the making.
"We know that there are lots of families on the west side of Sioux Falls that this will be a better option for them to come here, and we are blessed. You just can't go wrong when you have folks that are willing to serve a meal and for people who could use that meal," Special Events Coordinator Madeline Shields said.
Volunteers were ready to serve the porkchops, beans, salad and potatoes on day one of this new chapter, and for people like Gilbert Rivera, they know exactly what their generosity means to the community.
"Oh, very thankful, and they come from all over the country, that's what's weird. They're not just from here. They come here when they need help, so we get to do that," Rivera said.
It is that message of service and fellowship that Rivera wants to pass on to his young daughters.
Rivera: My little daughter. She's been doing it for years, too, so she comes with me.
Jared: A family tradition?
Rivera: Yup! We've got all my daughters here, actually.
When The Banquet first opened up downtown, nobody walked through the doors on day one, but years later people know the service The Banquet offers, and are going to take advantage of it any place it is offered.
Now, at least once a week, more warm meals can be served and enjoyed.
"By the time that the meal is over, it's not us and them anymore, it's we sat down together and we had a meal together, and that's what this is all about. It's food for the body and food for the soul," Shields said.
Banquet West will be open every Wednesday at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. If you would like to volunteer for The Banquet and help serve meals, you can visit The Banquet's website.