SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An organization working to eliminate hunger in every corner of South Dakota is preparing for one of its most important events of the year.

Food is the centerpiece of many holiday gatherings, and Feeding South Dakota is helping bring families together with its annual Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway.

“We will be distributing 1,500 boxes of Thanksgiving groceries here in Sioux Falls, as well as in Rapid City,” Feeding South Dakota Marketing & Communications Director Stacey Andernacht said.

Feeding South Dakota handed out about 2,400 Thanksgiving meals last year in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, with cars lining up hours in advance of the giveaway.

“This is an opportunity for individuals who are worried about having the ability to afford that meal this year to get the basic groceries they need for that traditional meal, so it’s items like turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, and even pie,” Andernacht said.

The price per meal has increased 20% this year, highlighting the importance of a donation from the Greg and Pam Sands Foundation.

“They’ve pledged a $30,000 match to help fund the event. That’s a dollar-for-dollar match from now through Thanksgiving Day,” Andernacht said.

“Once November hits, it’s time to give back,” Community Engagement Manager Jennifer Stensaas said.

Jennifer Stensaas oversees the volunteer program at Feeding South Dakota and says there will be no shortage of help on Saturday.

“They’ll be directing traffic, they’ll be putting the foods into the cars, it’s really a great morning to help those in need in our community,” Stensaas said.

Allowing those on the receiving end of the giveaway to simply enjoy Thanksgiving.

“We’re happy to provide one less worry for families during an already difficult time to just spend the day enjoying each other’s company over a nice Thanksgiving meal,” Stensaas said.

“We just want to make sure nobody is feeling that extra stress around the holiday season, and that we have the opportunity to give them the food to do that,” Andernacht said.

The Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway is this Saturday from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls and from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Fairgrounds in Rapid City.

And in Thursday night’s Eye on KELOLAND, we’ll tell you about the importance of giving your time and money to Feeding South Dakota during the holiday season.