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Former senator's memorial donations for Feeding South Dakota top $70,000

Feeding hungry people was a longtime mission for George McGovern. That effort has continued even after his death, with Feeding South Dakota receiving more than $70,000 in donations in McGovern's memory, according to Matt Gassen, the program's executive director.

"It's incredibly humbling, believe me, from our standpoint as an organization," Gassen said.

As McGovern grew gravely ill, his family asked for donations to Feeding South Dakota in his memory. Gassen said he was stunned by that announcement.

"I was overwhelmed then and still am today," he said. Feeding South Dakota serves the entire state, with offices in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City that provide food and money to 450 organizations across the state.

Its annual budget is $4 million, so $70,000 is a significant chunk of money, Gassen said.

The McGovern family asked for the dollars donated in McGovern's honor to be used for backpack programs for needy schoolchildren in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

It costs about $4 to fill a backpack with food for a child, so the donations are feeding hundreds of people, Gassen said.

To add to the total, go to and click on the "Donate Now" button in the upper left corner.

There is also an address and phone number on the website.