|Hunger insecurity on the rise in South Dakota|
|Thursday, 09 August 2012 15:48|
One bag. It may appear modest, but it contains enough food to provide a nutritious meal for an area child who may otherwise go hungry over the weekend. Executive Director of Feeding South Dakota "A lot of people don't realize that nearly 40 percent of all the school-aged children in the state of South Dakota are qualified for the free or reduced price lunch program." But during the summer, school lunches aren't available. So these sacks help reduce a hunger gap but with about 700 going out each weekend, it comes at a price. That's why those with Feeding South Dakota say donations are crucial. Billion Auto recognized this need and says after receiving much support from the community after their Rapid City dealership burned down last year they wanted to give back with a 25-thousand dollar donation. David Billion of Billion Auto says, "We figured that was the least we could do this year, is take care of the children for this summer." Although the backpack program helps it's not a total solution to the hunger problem in South Dakota. Today's economy coupled with the ongoing drought in America has left those at Feeding South Dakota worried the worst is yet to come. Gasson says, "The hunger need is going to continue to grow, unfortunately. It started for us significantly in the recession. You go back to 2008, 2009, between our pantries in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, we've seen a 65 percent increase in the number of people seeking food assistance in our pantries alone." So an apple, some crackers, a few canned goods it all adds up and can make a real difference in the life of a local child. Gasson says donations, both food and monetary, are desperately needed so these sacks can be filled and in turn fill the bellies of those who may otherwise go without. Zach Nugent Black Hills FOX News. The donation from Billion Auto covers the costs of the backpack program for this entire summer in Rapid City .But Feeding South Dakota says rural areas are being hit the hardest right now which is why in the coming months they're working to get a mobile food pantry up and running out of Pierre.