SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Feeding America has hundreds of food banks and millions of volunteers across the country. Monday, the organization’s CEO spent the day in Sioux Falls.
Feeding America is the largest hunger relief organization in the country.
“We are wherever hunger is, which means we cover the whole United States of America,” Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said.
Claire Babineaux-Fontenot is the CEO of Feeding America. She’s been in charge since 2018, but today’s visit marks the first time in 45 years that a CEO has set foot in Feeding South Dakota.
“Truly humbled. We’re excited to have her with us here today and we’re just going to try and show her the best that South Dakota has to offer,” Feeding South Dakota CEO Matt Gassen said.
“To watch that food that flows in and out of the warehouse, it’s always exciting to me to get to see, but the most important part of my trip is always going to be not the building but the people and I’m very, very impressed by the people who work here,” Babineaux-Fontenot said.
Feeding South Dakota is one of 200 food banks nationwide. Babineaux-Fontenot says she will not rest until she visits everyone, but her trip to South Dakota comes with added significance.
“One of the titans of food banking throughout our whole organization is Matt Gassen. Matt’s going to be retiring and I refused to let him retire without me coming, in person, and saying thank you to him and the team,” Babineaux-Fontenot said.
Babineaux-Fontenot says she makes these trips to say thank you to not only the team, but the community.
“During the pandemic especially we have seen a remarkable outpouring of support from the people of this whole state and I thank every single one of you for the investments that you’re making,” Babineaux-Fontenot said.
So far, Claire has visited 70 food banks since March of 2020.
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