SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Thanksgiving is typically a time for celebration between family and friends over a nice meal. But not everyone has that opportunity. Feeding South Dakota has launched their 10th Thanksgiving Meal Drive. They’re collecting donations to provide food to those who are less fortunate.
Since they closed their food pantry in April, Feeding South Dakota pivoted to hosting drive through food distribution locations around Sioux Falls.
“This pandemic has hit a lot of families really hard, and when I would go out to the distribution centers this summer, you know, I was shocked to see the changes among people: there seemed to be more anxiety more worry,” Development Director Christina Oey said.
Oey says COVID-19 has also taken its toll on the nonprofit as finding food to fill their warehouse has also been tough.
“The food supply chain is still very thin and we’re having trouble getting some of those foods in,” Communications Coordinator Jennifer Stensaas said.
“What we’re told is more folks are staying home, more people are cooking, less people are going to restaurants which is really tightening that food supply chain for us,” Oey said.
With Thanksgivng pulling up, they have even more drive to get families the food they need for the holidays. Wednesday they started their annual Thanksgiving Giveaway. This year they’re looking to provide 2,100 meals to families in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City.
“We’re looking for, first and foremost, monetary donations. While it’s fun and great to give a frozen turkey or all of the fixings that go with a traditional meal, we’re able to take the monetary donations so much further and buy in bulk,” Stensaas said.
Every dollar donated will be matched up to $15,000 for every online donation. Despite being starved of a traditional year, what’s keeping the nonprofit full of hope is the community coming together through food.
“Food is a very important social aspect; For families not being able to enjoy that on Thanksgiving is truly heartbreaking. It’s something that we want everyone to be able to do: just sit around with their families, enjoy their company, relax, and smile and not have to worry,” Oey said.
Feeding South Dakota will have Thanksgiving meal distributions on Saturday, November 21st starting at 8 AM at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds. If you can’t donate food but wish to provide a monetary donation you can visit their website.