SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An organization dedicated to feeding families across South Dakota will spend the next 30 days encouraging people to help its cause.
September is Hunger Action Month.
“We’re seeing more than 12,000 families in our mobile distribution each month, and that’s a 20% increase over last year. We’re just continuing to see that need rise and so this is a way for all of the neighbors to help other neighbors in South Dakota,” Feeding South Dakota CEO Lori Dykstra said.
Feeding South Dakota is asking people to donate their time or money, and says its Board of Directors will match donations, dollar for dollar during September, up to $50,000.
“We have an incredible Board, they don’t only just put in their time, they’re putting up their dollars because they see this rise in cost as something we need to get ahead of,” Dykstra said.
“That struggle is growing. With the tough economic conditions that we’re in people are having to chose between paying their rent for the week or putting food on the table, and rising food costs are only making that problem even worse and so we felt that it was important to put our own money up to really bring awareness to it during this month,” Feeding South Dakota Board Member Hannah Walkes said.
Hannah Walkes is one of 16 board members providing the match, and says every dollar counts.
“Even a donation as small as $10, with the match, can create up to 60 meals for families that need it,” Walkes said.
Volunteers are packing freezer boxes for mobile distributions, but Hunger Action Month means volunteering in a variety of ways.
“Some people can contribute with their checkbooks, which is great, and some people can contribute with their time, which is equally important,” Walkes said.
“I believe last year the hours the volunteers put in were the equivalent of like 30-plus employees, so just to know the impact we can make with the volunteers that come through here each day, whether they’re packing boxes or backpacks, all of it is needed for us to move food across the state,” Dykstra said.
September 15th is Hunger Action Day. Arc of Dreams in Sioux Falls and the Corn Palace in Mitchell will be showing support by illuminating the structures in orange, while people are encouraged to wear orange.