SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) — Students across South Dakota are getting ready for their first long weekend of the school year.

Volunteers with Feeding South Dakota are shipping out pallets of food for their Backpack Program.

“We’ve identified that child hunger is a big issue in South Dakota, one in nine children are considered food insecure by the USDA,” said Stacey Andernacht, Marketing and Communications Director.

This week, Feeding South Dakota will send more than 1300 backpacks to more than 85 schools across the state.

“We want to make sure that there’s something available to them whether it be instant oatmeal, granola bars, some shelf-stable milk, or canned vegetables, even that can be eaten without being warmed up if needed. So this is a great opportunity for families to sort of supplement what they’re able to purchase right now over a long weekend when the kids are at home,” Andernacht said.

Erik Rossing has been a volunteer with Feeding South Dakota for the last three years.

“It’s great because of the access we have here in town to be able to volunteer, whenever groups or companies feel like it,” Rossing said.

He says it feels good to contribute to the programs offered through Feeding South Dakota.

“Just knowing how our environments changed the last few years, and the economy and whatnot, you know, food may be a little harder to come by for families. And it’s vital not only for kids and their growth and development, but no family deserves to go hungry,” Rossing said.

In the weeks ahead, organizers expect the need to rise. They expect to send even more packages of food to students across the state.