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Healthcare

Avera Awards Grant to Feeding South Dakota Mobile Food Pantry Program

Avera-Feeding-SD-Grant.jpg
Jackie Hendry
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Avera Health is awarding a more-than $126,000 grant to Feeding South Dakota. The money will help the organization provide food to rural communities through its Mobile Food Pantry Program. 

Matt Gassen is the CEO of Feeding South Dakota. During the announcement in the organization’s food warehouse in Sioux Falls, he says more than 100 thousand South Dakotans are considered “food insecure.” Many are in the state’s most rural areas.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize sometimes that when we’re doing these mobile distributions, we’re traveling 150 miles one way to do a distribution in a community,” he explains.

Gassen says a lack of nutrition leads to lack of energy and a higher chance of health problems. He says this grant will help them continue to bring fresh produce and other healthy options to the thirteen small communities they currently serve. Some of those include Cherry Creek, Fort Thompson and Reliance.

Bob Sutton is the President and CEO of Avera. He says this grant is part of a natural partnership between the two organizations, and he’s glad to support a service that goes where it’s needed.

“If there’s a place in need and we’ve got people that are in need of our services, we wanna provide them. Feeding South Dakota does that, and that’s why it’s a good fit with our ministry philosophically as well," says Sutton.

Feeding South Dakota will receive the grant in annual gifts over a three-year period. CEO Matt Gassen hopes to be serving even more communities by the end of that time.