Eye on KELOLAND: Haven for the Hungry


SIOUX FALL, SD (KELO) — In spite of the wet construction season, crews are making good progress toward completing The Banquet feeding ministry’s new location in Sioux Falls. The goal is to start serving free meals there early next year. We have your first look at The Banquet West.

It’s a construction area right now. But soon, the hard hats will give way to soft-hearted volunteers serving warm meals to people in need.

“A few months ago, we came out to just a bare piece of land and now every week we come out here, there’s just more and more construction going on. You can see the rooms forming. It’s really exciting,” The Banquet Executive Director Tamera Jerke-Liesinger said.

Once it’s finished, The Banquet’s new west-side location will serve five evening meals a week.

“Guests will walk into this door here. We’ll have people wait in this waiting area here and then they’ll come into the dining room,” Jerke-Liesinger said.

The dining room will feature a serving line and seating for up to 200 people. The new building is modeled after The Banquet’s downtown location.

“So when the volunteers come to each place, they can recognize where they’re at and the same routine for each of the layouts there,” Project Superintendent Dave Hoines said.

But this new building will feature an improved exit strategy to avoid some of the crowding problems at the downtown site.

“Down at the main location, the dish room was so close to where the people would exit, we would get such a bottleneck going on there, so we worked with the architects to say hey, how can we flow better and they came up with a pretty good plan for us,” Jerke-Liesinger said.

But the new building’s biggest advantage is having kitchen facilities that are lacking at The Banquet’s temporary westside serving site at the fairgrounds. That means volunteers will no longer have to unload food hauled in from across town. Instead, all the meals will be prepared here.

“The food’s going to be here, they’re going to cook it and we’re going to put it on the serving line and we’ll be ready to go,” Jerke-Liesinger said.

Jans Corporation is relying on its past experience of building restaurants as a blueprint for construction of The Banquet’s new facility.

“The way the kitchen’s laid out, the coolers, the kitchen equipment, that kind of plays into the same way that a restaurant is kind of designed, too. We’ve done a lot of those kind of projects, so this is kind of right up our wheelhouse,” Project Manager Matt Kleinschmit said.

The building is going up along North Marion Road in the heart of one of the city’s so-called “food deserts.” An area where families have a difficult time getting access to healthy and affordable meals.

“It’s a burden for a lot of people and we’ve talked to the principals at Hayward Elementary and they’ve identified that there’s a need out here in this neighborhood, so we’re happy to be able to come fill that need,” Jerke-Liesinger said.

Jans Corporation and subcontractors are even doing some of the work for free, to help ensure the project comes in on-budget.

“We feel honored to be part of the project with The Banquet and working with an organization that provides a service they do to the community of Sioux Falls. It’s an honor for us and I think everyone that’s involved with to project, to be part of it,” Kleinschmit said.

The new building will be easier to get to than the The Banquet’s fairgrounds location. It’s within easy walking distance for many people who live here, plus it sits along a bus route. When it comes to location, west is best for feeding many of the working poor in Sioux Falls.

Crews will spend the next couple of weeks installing the parking lot and buttoning-up the building for winter. The Banquet is taking on a bigger financial commitment running two facilities that serve meals five days a week. If you’d like to donate money or your time, click here

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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