October 15, 2009

Matthew 25 Resource 10/15/09-Community Food Banks of South Dakota

In January of 2004, the Boards of Directors of The Food Service Center, Inc. in Sioux Falls, SD, and The Black Hills Regional Food Bank, Inc. in Rapid City, SD, unanimously voted to merge the two largest charitable food distribution organizations in the state. The decision to merge the two organizations came as the result of a joint twelve-month study into the feasibility of such an endeavor. The results of the merger analysis concluded that the two organizations could combine their common missions to more effectively address hunger issues all across South Dakota. Additionally, by collaborating on product solicitation and transportation partnerships greater quantities of food could be procured to meet the increasing demand for assistance.

A new name, Community Food Banks of South Dakota, was selected to reflect the statewide mission of meeting hunger needs. This merger brought together a combined 45 years of experience in providing hunger relief across South Dakota. Additionally, the talents and resources of these two organizations expands the reach and depth of the fight against hunger in our state.

At the Food Banks we distribute donated, purchased and reclaimed food to over 500 nonprofit charitable organizations, in all 66 counties of South Dakota, who provide meals and emergency food boxes to those in need. In 2008, the Community Food Banks of South Dakota as a whole distributed over 8.3 million pounds of food in this fight against hunger. Through our food reclamation program, we were able to handle, sort and box over 750,000 pounds of wholesome and edible food product. Our partnership with Feeding America provides us with access to millions of pounds of food product that is donated by corporations all across America. It is through this affiliation that we are able to provide a wider variety of store shelf quality food to our organizations.

Both Food Banks also operate the "BackPack Program." This program is focused at providing food to children who would otherwise be at risk of going hungry. Currently in Rapid City there are 1,147 backpacks of food being delivered to 15 schools every Friday afternoon. At the same time, on the other side of the state, Sioux Falls is packing 2,450 backpacks and being distributed to 34 schools. This program is in place for the entire school year from September through May.

Our community pantries in Sioux Falls and Rapid City provide emergency food to individuals and families throughout the local community who are in need of food assistance. Citywide networks of referral agencies direct needy clients to the pantry.

At the Community Food Banks of South Dakota our goal has and always will be to do all that we can to help in the fight against hunger in South Dakota.

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