SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Everyone has felt the effect of rising food costs and shortages of items across the nation and here in South Dakota. Organizations here in Sioux Falls have been collaborating to assist those in need.

The Faith Temple Food Giveaway hands out boxes of food to thousands of people every week. I’m going to take you behind the scenes to show you what it takes to make this event happen.

Weekly, the non-profit gives out around 4,000 packages of bread, 1,000 eggs, and 1,400 units of meat products. They also give out around 40,000 pounds of potatoes, and thousands of gallons of milk on a monthly basis.

“On a typical Friday, we would have: milk and a protein item like a ham or some type of meat, we’ll have eggs, we’ll have a sweet product, breads and then we’ll have miscellaneous items,” said Maddie Borah, Nursing Clinical Instructor for Public Health.

Maddie Borah is a clinical instructor at USF. She works with other instructors at USD, SDSU and Southeast Tech to gather nursing students to volunteer for clinical hours.

“I really wanted them to experience public health in a way that isn’t traditional,” Borah said.

Assistant Director of Operations Josh Hayes and Borah began a partnership in 2016. The goal was to get insight on how to pack healthy boxes and to give students hands-on experience.

“What are we able to do as students and as learners to be able to bridge those gaps? How are we able to work as nurses and as public officials to be able to provide resources for our clients?” said Josh Hayes, Assistant Director of Operations.

“Sometimes our patients have disease processes that require special diets or special medications and sometimes being able to afford those foods or have access to those foods can be really difficult,” Borah said.

“It’s teaching all of us about what it’s like to be public health nurses and what population we are serving. So it really helps us to learn about the people we will be helping as nurses,” said Madelyn Wilson Patterson, nursing volunteer USF.

Between 80-100 volunteers work on Friday to create this assembly line of boxes. Volunteers also work throughout the week to prepare for the giveaway.

“Whether it’s going to different stores and picking up boxes that the food will be handed out in or even picking up tangible food items or products,” Josh Hayes said.

Overall, it costs around $16,000 a month to have these weekly giveaways. That includes gas, transportation and labor alongside food and other items. Many organizations and donors work alongside Faith Temple to keep the giveaways going.

“We work with a lot of different community organizations: whether it’s Health Connect South Dakota, or the Helpline Center or other partners like Smithfield or Dakota Layers. We really partner with different entities to be able to get free or donated products or reduced products,” Josh Hayes said.

A partnership formed in 2020 with the Helpline Center through a grant from United Way. The grant provides free boxes of food and household items and free delivery with DoorDash.

“Through that, we started reaching out to community partners on how we would help organize the deliveries but they actually provided the product for the deliveries,” said Betsy Schuster, Vice President of Program Development.

Now it is used to help those who cannot make it to the giveaway due to issues with health or transportation.

“They are able to receive food but the dashers are also able to get their normal rate of pay,” Hayes said.

“It’s just really nice to be able to part of something. Being able to help people- or knowing that somebody is helping people and I’m able to contribute to that,” said Sarah Reese, DoorDash driver.

Though the giveaway happens outside this building, it is a community driven effort from multiple donors, organizations and volunteers and it is all to keep people fed in a time of rising costs.

“We see people from Minnesota, from Iowa as far as Brookings, Mitchell and Vermillion to come to our distribution as well because of the quality of items they receive and the lack of other resources in their areas,” Hayes said.

The Faith Temple Food Giveaway started back in 2009 by Pastor Jeff Hayes. In the beginning, it wasn’t a food giveaway at all.

“In 2009 the United States was going through an economic crash and so we at the church we’d give people Hy-Vee gift cards so they could go buy groceries,” said Jeff Hayes, Director of the giveaway.

But when more and more people needed assistance, Hayes and his son Josh decided to start working with food pantries to set up a giveaway every Friday out of the church parking lot.

“The first few weeks there was probably 70 people there or so. But then after that all of sudden there was 700 people,” Hayes said.

To keep up with increasing numbers, they moved operations to the Armory at the W.H Lyon Fairgrounds. It wasn’t long after when one of the members of their church came forward with good news.

“Art and Marie Nordstrom said ‘we have a surprise for you’ and they told us they were going to build us a building on the fairgrounds. So they ended up building this building, the Nordstrom Johnson building,” Hayes said.

Now as the giveaway operates out of this facility, Hayes says they will continue working to expand its services to meet the needs of the community.

“People are struggling and they are in need of these resources and we don’t want to judge them. We want to say ‘here whatever you do with the food is up to you’. We trust this is going to a place of need of it,” Hayes said.

The Faith Temple Food Giveaway says anyone who is interested in volunteering can find information on their website. Another resource for food assistance can be found here.