SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– KELOLAND Media Group staff members dedicated more than 155 hours to giving back to our communities as part of Founder’s Day on Thursday.
Dozens of employees volunteered with different service projects at a handful of organizations, including Feeding South Dakota, Active Generations Meals on Wheels, Lifescape and the St. Francis House. We also collected donated items outside the studio to create menstrual hygiene and child trauma kits to be distributed to Children’s Inn, Women’s Day of Service and East River Legal Services.
Feeding South Dakota
At Feeding South Dakota, a group helped pack food boxes to be delivered to the rural food distributions and at local churches around Sioux Falls.
The group was able to pack eight pallets of boxes, totally 505 food boxes.
“What we are doing today is just one of the three boxes that our folks get when we are doing our food distributions,” Carlos Gonzales, Volunteer Supervisor at Feeding South Dakota said. “This one in particular is the dry box, which would have like juices, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, trail mix, some of the goods that have a longer shelf life.”
Having volunteers help fill boxes has a tremendous impact on the community, Gonzales said.
“It really highlights the importance of us having volunteers donate their generous time in order for us to provide the services that we do provide in our community here in Sioux Falls and the rural communities as well,” Gonzales said.
Active Generations Meals on Wheels
Delivering meals to seniors was another project KELOLAND employees took part in on Thursday.
The Meals on Wheels of the Sioux Empire feeds around 600 to 700 people home-delivered meals every day in Sioux Falls, Rebecca Behnke, Nutrition Director at Active Generations said.
The program is for anyone over the age of 60, or if they deemed to be eligible by the state, Behnke said. Participants receive a hot, nutritious meal Monday through Friday between the time of 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
The organization also offers congregate dining at Active Generations or all seven of the Hy-Vee stores, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to get a meal.
“With the 700 people that we deliver meals to, without volunteers, it wouldn’t be possible,” Behnke said.
Their day starts at 9:30 a.m. with 10 volunteers that help to pack the meals, then volunteers deliver to 27 routes throughout the city, Behnke said. They have 30 to 35 volunteers a day.
“Without volunteers help, we wouldn’t be able to feed the seniors of Sioux Falls,” Behnke said.
For the seniors, it’s not only the delivered, nutritious meal they are receiving, but sometimes the volunteers are the only people the seniors see every day.
“They are waiting for us. They are waiting for our volunteers to come and come to their door and hand them their meal,” Behnke said.
The group from KELOLAND was able to deliver 40 meals on Thursday.
Menstrual hygiene and child trauma kits
KELOLAND employees also collected items for menstrual hygiene and child trauma kits that were donated to Children’s Inn, Women’s Day of Service and East River Legal Services.
Heather Krause, Founder of Women’s Day of Service, said the goal of her organization is to help women, children and families in Sioux Falls have access to basic hygiene products.
“We partner with non-profits across the community and when I was originally creating those partnerships, I learned basic hygiene is the most needed product that women in our community have,” Krause said.
Things like tampons, pads, shampoo and conditioner are things that help people be the best versions of themselves, Krause said. They have created large hygiene kits that incorporate all these items.
“The need is just unfortunately really great,” Krause said. “By offering people these little pieces of their dignity back, you know, feeling fresh and clean and healthy is just a dignified thing to have every day and some many people in this community don’t have that.”
When you think about going out to get a job and being the best you can be, Krause said hygiene plays a role in that.
“I am just really thankful that our community is supporting that,” Krause said.
With more than 12,000 items donated, KELOLAND volunteers were able to create 78 child trauma kits and 110 hygiene kits.
St. Francis House
At the St. Francis House, volunteers helped prepare for the organization’s upcoming fundraiser along with some other projects for events coming up.
Julie Becker, Executive Director of St. Francis House, said they are so excited to be able to have volunteers back this year.
“During the pandemic, it was a huge impact and we missed having our volunteers and many people don’t realize just how impactful volunteers are to our guests because they know them by name, and they always welcome and they have their serving hearts and big smiles,” Becker said. “So today having KELOLAND come in again and chose us, we are just ecstatic that we have volunteers coming today and helping us with these necessary projects we need to get done.”
St. Francis House is an ecumenical ministry to the homeless, providing them with transitional services, Becker said. They require everyone to obtain and maintain a full-time job and remain sober in their facility while paying their debts back to society.
Volunteers picked up their paint brushes in an effort to enhance the playgrounds at Lifescape.
Becky Sluiter, Volunteer Coordinator at Lifescape, said they are adding more sensory motor activities to help kids have fun and be creative and try something new at the playground.
They are adding sensory motor pathways, rocket ship hopscotch, a basketball hoop with different shapes to shoot from and an agility course with the ABCs.
The group painted and created four sidewalk games.
“Volunteers are so essential to all of the things that we do to help people live their best life and we are so very grateful for KELOLAND and for all volunteers who step up and want to share their time and talents with Lifescape,” Sluiter said.
Lifescape supports children and adults with disabilities.
“Our mission is empowering people to live their best life,” Sluiter said.
On Thursday, KELOLAND had 51 volunteers in Sioux Falls for 137 volunteer hours, one volunteer in Pierre with four hours and four volunteers in Rapid City for a total of 15 hours.