A handful of local non-profit organizations have teamed up with Feeding South Dakota this summer to provide backpacks of food for eligible kids in Pierre and Fort Pierre.
During the school year, 31% of children in Hughes county and 35% of children in Stanley county participate in the US Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch, School Breakfast Program.
To help fill the food gap, Fort Pierre Community and Youth Involvement Center, Stanley County Elementary School, Southeast Pierre Community Center, Oahe Family YMCA and South Dakota Urban Indian Health Clinic will provide nutritious packages of food over the weekends to children in need through Feeding South Dakota’s Summer BackPack Program.
Anyone under the age of 18 can receive a backpack each week to take home over the weekend.
The Capital Area United Way provides the funding. Executive director Ashlee Rathbun says United Way is committed to the health, education and financial stability of people in Hughes and Stanley counties. She says research shows an association between food insecurity and delayed development in young children; risk of chronic illnesses like asthma and anemia and behavioral problems like hyperactivity, anxiety and aggression in school-age children.