Local organizations band together, providing food for children and those in need during pandemic.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — With schools being closed, concerns are how to feed the children who rely on school lunches.
Local organizations are all working to address this critical need, but they too are in need of help, providing meals and volunteering to help out.
Although the South Dakota Department of Education announced, Monday, that schools would be continuing to feed students, other groups have taken it upon themselves to fill in any gaps.
Feeding South Dakota and Meals on Wheels, both, have been commended for their work – providing food to vulnerable populations. They have been awarded, each, $10,000 in grant funding by Black Hills Area Community Foundation to continue their work.
“We’re really going to try and manage our inventory as best we can,” said C.E.O. Feeding South Dakota, Matt Gassen. “This is not about short changing people, but this is really about trying to make sure we have enough food available for the long haul. We are planning. We hope this will be over in a week or two, but we are planning for this, possibly, to be going on a month or longer.”
Feeding South Dakota will also continue providing mobile food distribution, in addition to their emergency meal boxes. Location and delivery are pending.
“Those that don’t have access to any other kind of charitable food in our community will probably be the one’s that rise to the top as kind of being those priority communities that we kind of want to be able to get in and help out with,” Gassen said.
Meals on Wheels will continue to serve the community despite postponing congregate dining until May.
Other organizations helping out are Open Heart United Methodist Church in Rapid City – serving food March 16-20th.
Salvation Army is also temporarily offering meals to those in need monthly rather than every three months.
“We’re committed to making sure that those in need are able to receive these services throughout the duration of this crisis,” said Director of Special Services, Captain Kelsie Moreno. “Of course, we don’t know how long that may be. “
Those in need of service or wishing to volunteer may call the Salvation Army in Rapid City.
Governor Kristi Noem held a press conference Monday and addressed concerns on food availability for school children.
“A lot of the school districts, I’d say the vast majority of them in South Dakota have already come up with contingency plans to feed the children in their school district,” Noem said. “Also on our phone call earlier today was the Secretary of [U.S.] Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, his department oversees school lunches, for the nation, so they have set up a contact site for us to communicate with them on how we can take care of making sure we are feeding children across the country that are in need.”
South Dakota Department of Education’s Office of Child and Adult Nutrition Services has received approval to continue feeding school children through the school closures.