When the pandemic first hit, Feeding South Dakota had to shutdown its food pantry to keep people safe.
But the need was still there. So it started setting up food distribution sites around Sioux Falls.
It’s worked out so well, Feeding South Dakota is looking at expanding the program even more.
When the pandemic hit last year, a lot of people lost their jobs and could no longer afford to feed their families.
Feeding South Dakota closed its pantry, but according to the director that might have been a blessing in disguise.
“During that process, we always had a vision in our organization about changing our distribution model from having people always come to our facility to get food assistance in our pantry to a model in which we are able to take food out into the neighborhoods where people live and do the distributions,” Feeding South Dakota Executive Director Matt Gassen
It’s been distributing food to those in need at five different locations in Sioux Falls.
“Covid forced us to start looking at going to places where we hadn’t normally gone before,” Gassen said.
Now Feeding South Dakota is also distributing food to dozens of smaller communities that don’t have food pantries.
Gassen says their goal is to have at least 15 sites, just in Sioux Falls by this summer where they’ll hold weekly or monthly food giveaways.
They try to give about 70 pounds of food to each family.
So even though its food pantry is now being converted into office space, the mission of Feeding South Dakota remains the same.
“I never worried about those people who could make it into our food pantry, I always worried about those who didn’t and wondered why,” Gassen said.
Gassen says the demand for food from Feeding South Dakota has nearly doubled since the pandemic first started.