SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In December 2022, the Sioux Falls School District announced it had surpassed $100,000 in school lunch debt. Today, local businesses are working to help erase that debt.

Severance Brewing Company in downtown Sioux Falls is helping raise money and awareness in the fight against hunger.

“We’re going to have Tavern + Tots here serving up a school lunch inspired meal for folks. They’re going to be donating 10% of all proceeds to the cause. We’re also going to be giving $1 per pint for every pint ordered between 4:30 and 7:30,” Severance Brewing Company owner Scott Heckel said.

The target of Friday’s event is the school lunch debt in the Sioux Falls School District.

“Money that we had gotten during COVID really helped supplement a lot of those kids and when that money went away it just kind of started adding up fairly quickly, so it really puts a spotlight on how much need there is in our community,” Heckel said.

“My wife and I have four children who are in the Sioux Falls School District and knowing that they have friends, that they have classmates who struggle with hunger right here in our community was an eye-opening experience for me,” Casual Campfire Supply owner Ben Forred said.

Ben Forred owns Casual Campfire Supply in Sioux Falls. He donates a portion of every sale to Feeding South Dakota, while also raising money for the school lunch debt.

“We’ve paid for 1,000 school lunches and we’re sending 40 kids each weekend home with a backpack through the backpack program,” Forred said.

Casual Campfire Supply will be selling its products at Friday’s fundraiser, with half of all proceeds benefiting Feeding South Dakota.

“Instead of reinventing the wheel, I just figured I’ll start a company and just donate a chunk of my profits to Feeding South Dakota, who’s already done such a great job of that and we’ve donated 17,500 meals and that’s something I’m really proud of,” Forred said.

And he’s hoping Settle The Debt will inspire others.

“My hope here is that we can kind of light that first spark,” Forred said.

“Although we’re probably just going to make a small dent in that $100,000 this weekend, at least we can generate some awareness around it and hopefully get some kind of a sustainable plan in place to prevent that from adding up in the future,” Heckel said.

The fundraiser is Friday from 4:30 until 9:00 p.m. at Severance Brewing Company.