Families are going hungry due to the lack of resources in the area

Children, families and neighbors going hungry. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. They’re considered ‘food insecure’.
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:08 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Food insecurity is an increasing issue in South Dakota, more people are experiencing a lack of access to enough healthy food for an active, fit life.

Food banks, pantries, and distribution centers can be found around Rapid City to help the escalating problem. But these organizations are experiencing a crisis too.

“Donations have been really down in about the last year and a half, we’ve had kind of a tough time,” said Lynda Mentel, director of Church Response.

Most might think this issue worsened at the beginning of the pandemic, however, that’s not the case for all local organizations.

“During the pandemic, there was a food shortage but also we didn’t have as much people that were using our resource because they couldn’t come out or they were afraid to come out,” said Mentel.

The pandemic disrupted most food drives that sustain the pantries. However, it pushed federal programs to provide resources to several organizations all around the nation, along with various financial forgiveness programs allowing people relief temporarily.

“But now it’s really picking up again, but our resources are not picking up as much and we can definitely use food,” said Mentel.

“People would ask if we’re seeing an improvement, and it’s like well it wasn’t in great shape before the pandemic, that’s the thing, I mean one in nine people were food insecure in the state, one in six kids, that was the baseline, it’s been worse since then,” said Shawn Burke, Feeding South Dakota developmental associate in Rapid City.

Now, it’s more than just food, people are also balancing rent, heat, health, and other substantial bills, all of which are rising in cost.

And.. for the organizations put in place to help this community, the escalating prices paired with fewer donations hinder what’s on the shelves.

“So we’re having to buy more and by that, if we’re having to buy more and the cost is more for the food, for the transportation, then our dollars are going less distance than they used to,” said Burke.

Feeding South Dakota says one dollar allows them to buy 3 meals.

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