SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Mobile food pantries are a way for people to get food right in their area. In 2020 Feeding South Dakota’s mobile food pantry program made a difference across the state.
Each week volunteers at Feeding South Dakota pack boxes of food items to be distributed to people in need in Sioux Falls.
Some of those food items are given out as part of the organization’s mobile food pantry program.
“We load that onto a truck and we go to neighborhoods that we’ve identified as being most food insecure or food deserts where not in close proximity to grocery stores and other agency partners,” Feeding South Dakota communications coordinator, Jennifer Stensaas said.
At those distribution locations, volunteers load the boxes of food into cars.
“There’s no one getting out of the cars, it’s very easy, and we serve about 300-450 families at each distribution,” Stensaas said.
In 2020 the program grew.
Nearly 8 million meals were served at over 100 mobile food pantry distribution locations.
“It did grow on the eastern side, especially in Sioux Falls because, for us, at the Sioux Falls food pantry and along with our agency partners we had to pivot and learn how to distribute food in a safe manner, our food pantry is not that big here and so we knew that we wouldn’t be able to safely feed the influx of people that we’ve seen, which is about two times the normal years,” Stensaas said.
Over the next few months, more mobile distribution locations will be added.
“Adding five more in January through February, in addition of five more in February and March for a total of 15 in March in Sioux Falls, so that will be 41 on the eastern side of the state,” eastern operations manager, Dan Jensen said.
A program that is making a difference.
“With who Feeding South Dakota is and what we do, it’s been a blessing having the community involvement with what we are doing and what we are doing trying to meet the needs of the guests that we serve,” Jensen said.