Farmers, agribusinesses pitch in to fight hunger
SIOUX FALLS -- South Dakota Corn Growers President Mark Gross challenged farmers during the association's 27th annual meeting to donate $100 each to Feeding South Dakota.
Within hours, those farmers and several agricultural groups had raised $25,000 for the state's largest charitable hunger-relief organization.
"Despite last summer's drought, farmers have been very blessed these last few years. The right thing to do is help those who are less fortunate," Gross said. "This money will be used to feed people in need throughout the state. People don't go to the food bank because they want to; they go because they have nowhere else to turn."
A $100 donation allows Feeding South Dakota to provide 400 meals. It's enough to feed a family for four weeks. A $145 donation will provide one child with a backpack full of food each weekend for an entire school year. "For many kids, the food they receive through Feeding South Dakota's Backpack Program is the only food they'll get during a weekend," Gross said. "Picture your kids not having food on the weekend."
Gross and Chad Blindauer, president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, presented a $25,000 check Saturday night to Matt Gassen, Feeding South Dakota's executive director.
"We're incredibly excited to have received $25,000 from the South Dakota Corn Growers Association. We'll be able to take that money and turn it into 100,000 meals," Gassen said. "This goes a long ways in meeting our needs as we work to eliminate hunger in our state. This is an exciting time as we begin to partner with the ag industry, starting with South Dakota Corn. This partnership is very important to us and also to those we serve."
Feeding South Dakota is already partnering with the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota in the Showdown Series, an athletic and academic competition between those two schools in the heart of corn country. That series is raising food and money for the hunger-relief agency.
Agribusinesses that donated during the challenge are Cargill, Dupont Pioneer, First Bank & Trust, Monsanto, Premier Bank Card, Syngenta and WNAX Radio.
Feeding South Dakota has distribution centers in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City.
The organization distributes more than 12 million pounds of food annually through a network of 450 charitable organizations across the state.
Those groups then distribute the food through various programs and food pantries.