Feeding South Dakota continues to serve Rapid City during the pandemic

RAPID CITY, S.D. — As we now enter the second year of the COVID pandemic some South Dakotans are still afflicted with food insecurity. In fact, Feeding South Dakota is providing food for nearly 3x the number of people it usually serves annually.

This time last year the unemployment rate was 2.9% in the state of South Dakota. And just one month later that number had grown to a record-high 9.2%. And due to more people being out of work, Feeding South Dakota saw an increase in the number of people they serve.

Shawn Burke, Development Associate for Feeding South Dakota said “we’ve seen that increase due to people that just hadn’t been in our system before. And they need it now and they are gonna continue to need it for awhile till you know things are up and running.”

Feeding South Dakota permanently closed its fixed food pantry program in 2020 but has remained operational through its mobile food pantry program. The organization was able to distribute over 7 million pounds of food through the mobile pantry from July 2020 to February 2021. Which was an increase of 2 million pounds of food from the year prior.

“We still do backpacks, we still have agency partners that get food through their feeding programs. They provide meals or if they have a pantry that hasn’t changed, we’re still doing that. We just don’t have a pantry on site here in Rapid or in Sioux Falls” said Burke.

One thing that has helped Feeding South Dakota is Rapid City survive the pandemic has been the numerous volunteers who continued to show up and donate their time.

Shawn Burke also said “when the schools were closed we had a bunch of teachers, then some businesses were closed and we had a bunch of business folk. But we’ve had amazing support from the community coming in. We have volunteer crews that go in the mobile systems several times in a given month.”

1 in 9 South Dakotans are food insecure which translates to roughly 95 thousand individuals each year.

If you would like to donate money or volunteer your time for Feeding South Dakota you can follow the link here.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News