A KELOLAND non-profit estimates it’s helped give away about 10 million pounds of food to people in need.
The Faith Temple Food Giveaway started in 2009, and is still going strong today.
Most Fridays out of the year, you can find lots of people and lots of food in this building on the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds.
Jeff Hayes is the director of the Faith Temple Food Giveaway.
“We do believe that it’s a God thing that the food giveaway has come together,” Faith Temple Food Giveaway Director Jeff Hayes said.
He’s also the lead pastor at Faith Temple Church in Sioux Falls, which is where the food giveaway got off the ground with the help of Feeding South Dakota.
Years ago, the Hayes family noticed food insecurity in the community stemming from the recession.
The very first food giveaway started in the parking lot outside the church, and it served more than 60 people.
But it didn’t take long for hundreds of people to start showing up.
“Back then it was mass confusion. There were people all over, cars parked blocks away,” Jeff Hayes said.
After just months, the food giveaway moved to the fairgrounds.
Jeff’s son Josh was just a teenager as he worked alongside his family for the food giveaway.
“Growing up as a teenager, getting involved, almost getting thrown into it in a sense, it was just something that I never had an idea about what food insecurity was or what hunger was,” Faith Temple Food Giveaway Assistant Director of Operations Josh Hayes said.
Today, he’s the assistant director of operations for the Faith Temple Food Giveaway. Over the years he’s witnessed how it’s made an impact on families.
“I saw that these are people’s lives. These aren’t just numbers on a page, that each one of them has a story,” Josh Hayes said.
Marcus Wilison is a volunteer for the food giveaway, but he’s also received food in the past.
“The time I was going through wasn’t so easy, and they helped me out when I needed them,” volunteer Marcus Wilson said.
Jeff’s wife Rhonda describes the volunteers and guests as family.
“The food giveaway really is more than just giving out food. We really want people to receive hope and to know that they matter, that there are people out there that care about them and love them,” Faith Temple Food Giveaway Co-Founder Rhonda Hayes said.
Jeff says hunger is oftentimes invisible.
“You may know people in your neighborhood, your family and they look normal and natural and they’re dressed and they drive down Minnesota Avenue and 41st, but little do you know they may be struggling for food,” Jeff Hayes said.
That’s why the Hayes family and all of their partners have been stepping up for years.
“It’s been a tremendous blessing,” Jeff Hayes said.
Jeff and Rhonda’s daughter Jenna has also helped with the food giveaway in the past.
The food giveaway is still happening this Friday, but it will be drive-thru style due to concerns over the coronavirus.
You can find information on the food giveaway here.
For more food resources in the Sioux Falls area, click here.