Less food, more hungry people in KOTA Territory - KOTA Territory News

Less food, more hungry people in KOTA Territory


Three counties in the state are the poorest in the country, and according to Feeding South Dakota; one in every eight South Dakotans doesn't always have enough food to eat.

Food donations are scarce right now, and the need is increasing across KOTA Territory.

On average more than 100 people a day come to the Rapid City Food Bank needing groceries.

"On an individual basis it's extremely important," said Pantry Coordinator Leigh Gibson. "We have families with small children, seniors, single people, people that just wouldn't be able to get by without a little extra help."

People like Steve Gnagy and his girlfriend. "If we didn't have this here, I'd be basically panhandling for food which panhandling is a crime," said Gnagy.

He is on a fixed income. "Basically all my money goes towards living costs," said Gnagy. "I barely have enough for food."

Sometimes balancing his budget can be tough, and he says he's not the only one. "There's more and more families that need to be helped out there, not just myself," said Gnagy.

In 2011 the Rapid City food pantry had over 650,000 pounds of food to give to 32,000 people. This year they have less food to give out to a growing list of needy people.

"It's a bit of a heart ache and at the same time it feels good to be able to help," said Gibson.

She says food donations are wonderful, but they can do more with cash. "We have a greater purchasing power," said Gibson.

The food bank can purchase about 50 pounds of food for just $5 and that's about what one recipient will take in a day. "I greatly appreciate all the stuff that people donate towards this food bank," said Gnagy.

And volunteers are always welcome. "Not everybody's able to do a financial gift so a gift of their time is just as important," said Gibson.

Church Response Pantry Manager Joe Matson says the Cornerstone Rescue Mission has also had a tough year with food donations. And in the last two weeks, the number of people they are helping has jumped 20%.

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