SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Kids Against Hunger, the non-profit that feeds hungry families around the world, and locally, has moved into a new home on the west side of Sioux Falls. The new Marion Road location will allow volunteers to resume packing meals, a community effort that’s been sidelined, only until recently, by the pandemic.

This space inside a Marion Road strip mall was a tanning salon years ago. You can still see the booths’ tan lines on the floor. But now it’s been re-purposed as the new packing center for Kids Against Hunger.

“Our motto is to feed hungry people around the world and around the corner, so we have been sending food, and we’re still dedicated to sending food all around the world where it’s needed because there’s so much need,” Kids Against Hunger Executive Director Deanna Darr said.

The new location is another step for Kids Against Hunger to ramp-up meal preparations that were put on hold during the pandemic.

“It’s been really sad for us to be not in business for about two years. And not being able to provide the food that we have been sending to Haiti and to the Indian reservations and locally,” Kids Against Hunger Sioux Falls founder Darrel Johnson said.

The first volunteer packing effort since the pandemic took place during Augustana University’s homecoming week.

“Doggone it, young people are good people. It was so nice to be around them. They were so enthusiastic and wanted to work and I believe they packed 40,000 meals that day,” Johnson said.

The building’s 2,700 square feet of space allows dozens of volunteers to pack meals with room for up to seven rows of tables.

“We’ve already packed 8.9 million meals from all the volunteers in Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls has been so generous, so we’re hoping to pack many, many more,” Darr said.

Kids Against Hunger hopes to eventually be open every night, as well as weekends at its new location. This former tanning salon is shedding new light on feeding the need within the community and around the globe.

The new west-side location replaces the Kids Against Hunger’s facility that had been located at 33rd and Minnesota.

You can check out the new packing center during an open house Saturday morning.