SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — No matter your income, inflation has meant a tighter budget for everyone this year, and depending on where you live, access to groceries might mean a longer drive. This is where the Eat Well Sioux Falls Mobile Market comes in.
“We’re a cradle to career workforce development,” Sioux Falls Thrive President Michelle Erpenbach said. “Why are we doing a grocery store? Because hungry children can’t do well in school. Mom and dad are hungry, the kids are hungry. This is all upstream work in terms of how do we make a difference for those kids in our schools now.”
The nonprofit Sioux Falls Thrive runs the project which offers affordable groceries for anyone and launched on October 10. It currently stops at four different locations on Tuesdays and two spots on Thursdays.
“On Tuesdays now we’re seeing roughly probably 60 to 80, and then on Thursdays we’re seeing about probably 20 to 30,” Eat Well Sioux Falls Mobile Market manager Luke Senst said about how many people visit the market.
“It’s subsidized right now through a city grant from the federal government, right, and so we look at pieces of the map,” Erpenbach said. “We have specific places that we need to be serving based on the data that we’ve done in the past on food security in Sioux Falls.”
Both Senst and Erpenbach say the effort is meeting a need that wasn’t previously met.
“A thousand percent, yes,” Senst said. “We have roughly 60,000 people that live in areas that are considered food deserts in the community, so right now we are helping to fulfill some of that need.”
“It’s close to where they live, and it’s filling that need that we were hoping we would be able to do,” Erpenbach said.
The market does not accept cash. While neither Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) nor Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits are currently accepted, they hope to do so in the future.