SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With inflation and rising food prices, it’s shaping up to be a difficult holiday season for a lot of KELOLAND families.
In October, Feeding South Dakota helped 900 more families than the previous month.
The Salvation Army had to shut down its Thanksgiving Dinner sign up early, after receiving 800 requests in just a few days.
Those aren’t the only charities and agencies seeing an increase in need.
According to the latest statistics, 72,745 South Dakotans received SNAP benefits to help pay for their groceries in September.
That’s more than 2,000 more people than a year earlier, and about 8 percent of the state.
This is a challenging time for Feeding South Dakota.
“Our operating costs are up about 20 to 30%. And so we’re really seeing that with South Dakotans that are food insecure, and so we are seeing households and increase of numbers at our mobile distributions and throughout our other programs,” Feeding South Dakota development director Megan Kjose.
It’s the largest increase in food insecurity rates the charity has experienced in nearly a decade.
More people are also turning to the Banquet.
“Our numbers were, at the downtown location, about 350 for an evening meal. Now we’re seeing anywhere from 390 to 425 people. So that number has gone up a good amount,” says The Banquet Executive Director Tamera Jerke-Liesinger.
Just like families all across KELOLAND, the food ministry is also adapting to the rising cost of food.
“It goes down to that menu planning, just getting a little bit more creative with that. We are freezing more leftovers than we ever have before and incorporating those back into meals,” says Jerke-Liesinger.
The Union Gospel Mission is also serving up more meals. It used to serve around nine to ten thousand meals a month, it now serves 11,000.
“And so it runs around $3.50 to $4 a person if we’re buying it in bulk in the way we do it. So it’s an expensive thing. And that’s just for lunch. And then we have dinner and then we have the next day breakfast and then lunch and so on and on,” says Weber.
And the need goes beyond food. More people are also staying at the shelter.
“So we have seen an uptick, I would say, in our Women’s Center for sure. We’ve seen a major uptick. We used to do around 25 to 30, but now we’re doing up to 48,” says CEO Union Gospel Mission Eric Weber.
All of the non-profits rely heavily on community support, especially with the increase of services they provide.