PIERRE S.D. – In May 2010 Feeding South Dakota initially opened the Charles H. Burke Distribution Center in Pierre. Since that moment, the organization has continued to see a regular increase in demand for food assistance in the area. Though expected to be useable for a decade, the original building quickly became too small to accommodate the food distribution needs of the 24 county territory the facility serves.
In 2012, the Pierre facility served 1.5 million more pounds of food than originally projected and came, in part, due to the introduction of a Mobile Food Pantry. The Mobile Food Pantry was deployed to help meet the need of the severely underserved rural communities of Central South Dakota who were so in need of more access to nutritious foods. In 2015, the Mobile Food Pantry distributed over 552,000 pounds of food in thirteen different communities, providing 460,000 meals to individuals, families and senior citizens, 37 percent of which are children.
On January 11, 2016 Feeding South Dakota opened the doors to the new Charles H. Burke Center for Hunger Relief. The new facility includes significantly larger space beginning a new chapter that will allow for growth, efficiency and better service. The 18,000 square foot warehouse facility, located at 20562 Grace Avenue, will alleviate the crowding issues volunteers, staff and agencies faced in the original building. “The additional square footage, office space, loading docks, new state-of-the-art freezer and cooler units, will make daily operations run smoother,” explained Matt Gassen, CEO of Feeding South Dakota.
“In our old space, volunteers were crowded in a narrow corridor, filling boxes of food for senior citizens on a Tuesday night,” said Russ Hofeldt, Feeding South Dakota Central Operations Manager. “With our new facility, we will have a dedicated space to pack the senior boxes filled with nutritious, supplemental foods to be distributed to low-income seniors in need of food assistance.”
“This type of facility allows us to be more efficient with the resources that come through our doors, which in turn, helps us provide more to the people in need of a helping hand,” Hofeldt added.
The public is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18 at the new location. Mayor Laurie Gill and many others will be in attendance. Tours of the new facility will be available following the short presentation.
According to Gassen, “It’s bittersweet. We are excited to be better serving our community, but we are also very hopeful that someday every family in South Dakota will have the food they need on their table.”
About Feeding South Dakota
Feeding South Dakota, whose mission is to eliminate hunger in South Dakota, is the state’s largest charitable hunger relief organization. In FY15, Feeding South Dakota secured and distributed over 12.3 million pounds of quality nutritious donated and purchased food providing 10.2 million meals to more than 100,000 individuals in need. Feeding South Dakota is able to distribute this food from our distribution centers in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City through its network of over 350 charitable organizations across the state. These organizations then provide this food to individuals who are “food insecure” through youth programs, senior centers, on-site feeding programs, emergency food pantries, after school programs, and homeless shelters. For more information on Feeding South Dakota, please visit www.feedingsouthdakota.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.