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Feeding SD Receives $75K For Mobile Pantry

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Kealey Bultena
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SDPB

An area health system is donating $75,000 to support a truck that takes food to hungry people across the state. Avera is putting $25,000 into Feeding South Dakota’s mobile food pantry each year for the next three. The donation supports communities in the central part of the state.

Feeding South Dakota’s mobile food truck has refrigerated sections. That means foods that need to stay cool – think dairy products, produce, and meats – can make it across the state for distribution to hungry families.

Avera’s donation of $75,000 helps ensure people in Huron, Ipswich, Miller, Lower Brule and Reliance have access to these foods and more when they can’t afford groceries.

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Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB
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SDPB
Bob Sutton discusses the connection between Avera Health and Feeding South Dakota. / August 17, 2015

Bob Sutton is CEO of Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre. He says it makes sense that an organization that cares for sick people contributes to hunger relief.

“Avera’s mission is broad, but it really involves making a difference and impacting the lives in the communities we serve. Nutritious food and nutrition is just a basic human right element that we talk about all the time,” Sutton says. “We need to have healthy people, we want to have healthy people, and nutrition is a key part of that.”

Feeding South Dakota launched the mobile food pantry in 2013. It’s part of an overall effort that serves all 66 counties. Max Sandlin is the vice president of Feeding South Dakota’s board of directors. He says the organization distributed more than 12 million pounds of food last year, serving thousands of people who don’t have enough to eat.

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Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB
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SDPB
Max Sandlin talks about the face of hunger in South Dakota. / August 17, 2015

“They’re big challenges. They’re impressive numbers on what we do. But I think the thing that’s important is that we have to remember that these aren’t numbers. These are people. These are real people with names, with families. These are dads that don’t have a job and can’t support their family. These are single mothers with children that can’t get just the basics of food.

Sandlin says he wants people to recognize that Feeding South Dakota’s goal is to eliminate hunger in the state. He says that goal is achievable.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).