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Local film producer teams with Pizza Ranch, Black Hills Community Bank to provide for families in need

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 5:50 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The holiday season is a time for giving and generosity. For the past five years, a local film producer and author has teamed up with Pizza Ranch and Black Hills Community Bank to provide meals for the families of elementary students in the area.

When Sean Covel isn’t producing Hollywood films or writing books, he’s doing his part to aid in fighting food insecurity in the Black Hills and beyond. The 12 Days of Pizza was conceived after Covel spoke with a 2nd grade teacher in his hometown, who said that half of her class of 25 faced food insecurity.

He says the generosity of small-town businesses serves as the driving force behind many programs to help those in need.

“It happens entirely because of small towns and small-town business owners, a local bank, like Black Hills Community Bank, a local franchise, like the pizza ranches, to deal with a local problem, and that’s been amazing to be part of,” Covel said.

In five years, the program has expanded from just two locations in Rapid City sponsoring families in need, to the entire Pizza Ranch chain.

Shawn Kerns is the Senior Vice-President of Black Hills Community Bank, which provides funding for the program. His wife is a teacher and says she sees the need for food programs, as the school district shuts down for the winter break.

“Seeing the joy that these kids have when they win these pizza parties is not only special for us, but the staff and school district,” Kerns said. “It’s a very special time, and they’re so happy to provide this for students and their families.”

With all Pizza Ranch locations in the country taking part, over 12,000 meals will be sponsored by the program.

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