1 in 9 South Dakotans faces hunger insecurity, 14th year of Feeding America’s September Hunger Action month

Feeding South Dakota
Feeding South Dakota(Nick Nelson)
Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 6:32 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Feeding America is a the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the nation with a network of 200 food banks, including Feeding South Dakota.

September is Hunger Action month, encouraging people to take part in helping American’s who battle with hunger.

This is the 14th year of Hunger action month.

Shawn Burke, Development Associate with Feeding South Dakota says, “Food banks across the country try to get the word out more about food insecurity.”

Something that Burke says some people don’t fully understand, assuming that some are taking advantage of the system when they don’t need it.

“We’re going to get food available to anybody who might need it, and that’s a lot broader scope than a lot of people realize. People are one paycheck away from not having food on the table. This is working poor, these aren’t just people that are -- you know, the whole concept of being on welfare and nothing -- there’s a lot of people that are working and still need some help,” says Burke.

Burke says they typically give out about 83 pounds of food to a person at a distribution, “A combination of things. we’re trying to give out a variety of nutritious food to each family.”

Feeding South Dakota is serving well over 100 communities across the state in different ways.

“Backpacks are weekend food packages that we send home with school children during the school year, and then our regular distributions are the mobile distributions. So, we take food out to the communities. We try to get food accessible to people where they are,” says Burke.

Burke brought up various churches, the Club for Boys, Journey Museum and Star Village as places they visit.

In any case, hunger is a very real South Dakota problem.

“There’s about one in nine South Dakotan’s who are food insecure or in danger of being food insecure, 100,000 people ish, and it’s worse for kids. It’s more like one in six for children. So, it’s a big deal. It’s a big issue. It isn’t changing any too fast. Poverty is not a simple thing to address,” says Burke.

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