SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– The holidays are a time when people gather together with those they love, typically around a large meal.
But with inflation, those holiday diners are being harder for local families to put on the table.
As inflation has continued to rise, Feeding South Dakota’s mobile distribution has increased nearly 50 percent in the past year. And with the holidays right around the corner, they expect to see that number only rise.
“We are anticipating a large number of people at our mobile food distributions in December, which means there’s more food to get out, more boxes to pack and more volunteer work needed,” said Stacy Andernacht, marketing and communications director, Feeding South Dakota.
In just November, the organization was able to provide 6,000 holiday meals to families across South Dakota.
“We did a mobile food distribution in Sioux Falls and Rapid City where we gave groceries to 1,500 families in each of those communities so a total of 3,000 that they can take home and create a traditional meal,” said Andernacht. “Then additionally another 3,000 meals of groceries went to our agency partners. So that’s going to be places like small town food pantries, shelters or hot meal sites.”
But getting these meals to families in need isn’t easy. Inflation has not only impacted those utilizing Feeding South Dakota, but it has also made it harder for the organization to get food to stock their shelves.
“We are definitely seeing the impact of inflation two-fold,” said Andernacht. “The food that we are receiving and bringing in-house is going out just as quickly as it’s coming in, because the numbers continue to rise.”
Here in Sioux Falls, The Banquet has seen has also seen the number of guests needing meal increase.
“We have seen an increase in the number of guests we have coming at our Banquet west location,” said Brian Majerus, community partnership coordinator, The Banquet. “For breakfast, we are serving right around 230 to 240 sometimes that number will go up, Here at the downtown location for our suppertime, we are serving anywhere right around 320 and at The Banquet west we are right about at 130 to 150.”
Both organizations say volunteers are their biggest need right now.
“We have shifts at each of our distribution centers twice a day, every day of the week and that’s an opportunity for people to come in and help us pack up the food,” said Andernacht. “Additionally, we are very thankful to have those that are able to donate dollars. We can stretch a dollar a little further than the average consumer. So dollar provides enough groceries for three meals when we use it to purchase food.”
“We have open opportunities throughout the remainder of this year and of course into next year where we welcome families, friends, church groups, businesses to come in and serve a meal with us,” said Majerus.
Providing opportunities for you to give back to those in need this holiday season.
“When you talk to our volunteers they will tell you there is nothing better than to be here at the holiday season, serving our guests. It gives you that chance to interact with the guests, to see the kids, especially when you’re having Santa here, it just really can brighten up your whole holiday season,” said Majerus.
“We really rely on our volunteers and we always love having people, if you’ve never volunteered here before, really it’s a lot of fun,” said Andernacht.
Throughout the rest of the holiday season, Feeding South Dakota will be having different money matching fundraisers.