The Banquet opens dining room to 100% capacity for first time since the start of the pandemic

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – It’s a big step for a local non-profit as it starts to get back to normal.

In March of 2020 The Banquet started serving meals to-go style to help keep guests and volunteers safe during the pandemic. Since March of this year, they’ve slowly been lifting restrictions.

James Fuller has been volunteering at The Banquet for about 5 years.

“I started doing it because my father used to volunteer here and support The Banquet and when he passed away I looked at this as something to carry on his tradition,” volunteer, James Fuller said.

He’s just one of the people helping with prep work ahead of tonight’s meal.

It’s the second day The Banquet has had its dining room open 100% since the start of the pandemic.

“Since March 13th, 2020, all of our meals had been to go for our Banquet guests, and this March, 2021, we started letting a limited number of people into our dining room during each meal, but starting on July 1st we went to our dining room open 100% and all meals dine in,” executive director, Tamera Jerke-Liesinger said.

That means there’s a need for additional volunteers.

“Summer in general is tough for us to get volunteers because there are kids in ball, family vacations, trips to the lake, those types of things, so we always struggle in the summer, and then you throw in us coming out of a pandemic into the mix, we’re really hunting for volunteers right now,” Jerke-Liesinger said.

She says between the two locations, the Banquet can serve more than a thousand meals a day.

Fuller says it’s worth taking the time to volunteer.

“I really get more out of it than I put into it, seeing the gratitude of the people that we are helping here makes it worth while,” Fuller said.

If you’d like to volunteer, you can either sign up online or call The Banquet at 605-335-7066.

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