“The need is here. You don’t have to go to a 3rd world country to find it. Step out your back door and you will find children going hungry every day. That’s why I do what I do,” states Ryan Chocholousek (pronounced ko-ko-low-check)–BackPack Program & Volunteer Coordinator for the Feeding South Dakota Organization. “There are kids all around us going without food every weekend. I have been blessed so much in my own life–I want to be a blessing to those kids. But, it takes our entire team of people here to keep us running. My fellow employees and the volunteers are the reason we can keep hungry people fed!”
The BackPack Program gives a bag of food to a local child in need that is child-friendly, nutritious, nonperishable, and easy to prepare and eat. Each BackPack offers enough food for children to easily assemble into six healthy meals over the weekend when schools are unable to provide breakfast or lunch. Part of the BackPack program’s mission is to distribute to local children discreetly–freeing parents and children in need from the stigma of being a part of a food program. Last school year, the local BackPack Program gave 1800 bags of food to children in need in 33 schools in the Black Hills.
Demand is at an all time high and there is a waiting list for the BackPack Program. For families and individuals that want to give, $150.00 is all it takes to feed a child every weekend for the entire school year. Volunteers are welcome to join in the effort to pack backpacks and organize inventory, as well. Your time and donations make a big difference in the lives of children who would otherwise be going with little to no food for two days over the weekend.
For families in need, Feeding South Dakota encourages you to speak with your school staff, school counselors, and social workers to be placed on the BackPack program waiting list for the upcoming school year.
“One of my biggest goals is to work myself out of a job,” says Ryan. “I wish there was no need for an organization like ours. But, in the mean time, we will keep fighting. As long as the need exists, we will be here to help.”
People like Ryan are getting the word out and helping put food in the mouths of children to create a brighter future for them. Thank you for feeding Rapid City, Ryan! Thank you for Making An IMPACT in our community!
IMPACT Magazine is currently taking nominations for the next edition of “Making An IMPACT”. Know someone who is making a difference right here in the Black Hills? Nominate them by sending their name and brief summary of their IMPACT to firstname.lastname@example.org