A five-week-long partial government shutdown increased food insecurity for many people nationwide. It’s a daily struggle for some, whether or not there’s a government shutdown.
The weekly Faith Temple Food Giveaway happens on Fridays. Associate Director Josh Hayes tells KELOLAND News they’re about to hit some big milestones- next month they’ll hit one million guests, and likely in April they’ll have distributed 10 million pounds of food.
Carl Parmley of Centerville, South Dakota has been coming to the giveaway for six or seven months. He grabs food not only for himself, but people he knows.
“I like getting some of the groceries, and I share them with some people in my apartment and other little families that can’t come,” Parmley said.
Nichole Andrews of Sioux Falls is here for the first time.
“I’m here because my family needed food, and this opportunity to get food for free is awesome,” Andrews said. “It’s helping my family out, so I really appreciate it.”
Josh Hayes, associate director of the giveaway, says around 500 people were at the giveaway on Friday, including volunteers. Usually around 350 or 400 people come.
Dan Santella: Why do you think you saw that increase?
“I think with the government shutdown, we’ve had a lot of furloughed workers who have come out to the giveaway,” Hayes said.
But many more than 500 will eat.
“Today’s giveaway, we’re expecting about 2,000 people being fed, and about 48 percent of those will be people under 18,” Hayes said.
Asked about the value of the giveaway, he tells a story of a coffee shop encounter.
“A guy came up to me, and he said, ‘You know, without your food giveaway, I probably would have been dead right now. I had just lost my job, and I was planning on killing myself, but I went to get a box of food for my family to leave them before I killed myself. And when I came to the giveaway, I not only received food, but I received hope,'” Hayes said. “And stories like that really keep us going.”
“It just means so much- I can’t even explain,” Andrews said. “Just because without them, I wouldn’t be able to feed my family right now, so I’m just really thankful.”