History of KOTA Care & Share Food Drive
"The cupboards are bare. There is never quite enough to go around. It's always hard to meet the year–round demand for food in KOTA Territory."
That's how it all started in 1984. KOTA Territory Television & Radio were approached be Church Response to help meet the needs of the hungry.
We had very humble beginnings. Partnering with the Boy Scouts, in that first year (1984) we collected enough food to fill the back of a station wagon. We were thrilled! But within a few years, the KOTA Care & Share Food Drive grew into the preeminent holiday food campaign in almost every town of Western South Dakota, and later expanded into Eastern Wyoming.
It's all about Caring & Sharing. Our volunteers make it all happen.
We are best known for the annual KOTA Care & Share Food Drive blue bag December campaign. We partnered with the Black Hills Chapter of the Boy Scouts to bring a blue bag to every home in the region. It was so successful, the national Boy Scouts picked up the campaign that became "Scouting for Food". In about 2009, we turned to the Girl Scouts to help us cover the expanding communities. And now we ask for help from many church, school and volunteer organizations.
Here's how it works. The first Saturday in December, a volunteer brings a blue bag to each home. The next Saturday in December, the group returns to the neighborhood to collect all the blue bags filled with food donations. It's a tough job!. It requires many hours on two Saturdays, and walking miles in often unpleasant winter weather. But it's worth it! It has become the single most important day in food collection in each community of KOTA Territory!
The food collected in each community stays in that community. So the volunteers in Gillette or Spearfish or Custer, collect food that stays in that community to fight the home–town hunger. In Rapid City, the National Guard sets up collection sites at each Family Thrift Center. They transport the food, which is split evening between Church Response and the Feeding South Dakota food bank.
A BIG thank you to Nash Finch and the Family Thrift Centers for the valuable gift of the blue bags. Thank you to the Boy Scouts who have been carrying the load of this food campaign all these years. Thanks also to the Boy & Girl Scouts who manage the map and the logistics of the neighborhood campaign and the reporting of the grand totals. We now also thank so many school groups, National Honor Society students and families who help us with this annual door–to–door campaign that helps feed so many.
Hunger knows no season. With the support of the #1 television & radio stations, we offer free promotion to other year–round events, to try to keep the cupboards stocked. (KOTA–TV, KHSD–TV, KSGW–TV, KOTA–am 1380, KDDX–fm, X–Rock, KZZI–fm 95.9/96.3 Eagle, KQRQ–fm Classic Hits 92.3, KZLK–fm She 106.3)
Here are some of the creative ways that businesses & non–profit organizations have joined forces to help the neediest in our communities.
* Black Hills Bagel drive–thru
* Behavior Management Festival of Trees
* Festival of Lights, downtown Rapid City night parade
* Headlines Academy Cut–a–thon
* Dakota Choral Union, Kantorei Christmas Concert
Cash donations are most appreciated, since $1 provides 10 pounds of food. We started collecting food in 1997 and it has made a HUGE difference to the relief organizations.
Our common goal is to help feed the hungry. Thank you for your generosity – your gifts of time, talent and treasure!
Helene Duhamel, KOTA Territory News
KOTA Care & Share Food Drive Chairman