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Children Hungry During Summer Months

FILE: Food Banks
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A recent survey concludes that there are a lot of hungry people in South Dakota – approximately 100,000 of them. According to Feeding South Dakota, more than 12% of the people living in South Dakota don’t have enough to eat.

That reality is evident by the number of people who use the Sioux Falls Food Pantry, the Food to You Mobile Food Pantry, Lunch Is Served, Faith Temple Church’s weekly food distribution and The Banquet, where more than 150,000 meals were served last year alone.

“We’re just coming up on our busy months here at The Banquet. During the summer we see more guests and more children. When school is not in session, meals are more challenging to come by,” said Tamera Jerke Liesinger, Banquet Executive Director.

Recent numbers from Sioux Falls Public School District show that 38% of all public school students qualify for free lunch according to the federal family income guidelines. That number jumps to 44% if you include the children who qualify for reduced-cost school meals.

The Summer Food Service Program, which is administered through the federal Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the US Department of Agriculture helps close the gap for many children.

Sioux Falls Public School, Child Nutrition Supervisor, Joni Davis said the sites feed about 400 children per day.

“We always wish there were more when we see what the staistics tells us,” said Davis.

The sites have already served more than 4,000 meals to hungry children in the past couple of weeks.

The Summer Food Service Program provides meals to children in low-income areas when school is not in session.  In Sioux Falls those meals are provide at 11:30 Monday-Friday at Laura B. Anderson, Anne Sullivan, Terry Redlin, Hayward, Hawthorne, EmBe (formerly known as the YWCA) and at the food service center on Western Avenue across Canaries Stadium. Those meals will continue through August 9th.

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