Hunger Action Day: 1 in 5 South Dakota Children Struggle with Hunger
Today marks ‘Hunger Action Day’ in South Dakota. The campaign is hosted by Feeding South Dakota, a statewide organization with locations in Pierre, Rapid City and Sioux Falls.
Now in their ninth consecutive year, the campaign's mission is to eliminate hunger in our communities. Matt Gassen, Executive Director of ‘Feeding South Dakota’ says:
“One in 8 people in South Dakota struggle with hunger, and even more staggering is that 1 in every 5 children do not know where their next meal will come from.”
Feeding South Dakota has had a great impact on our state’s hunger issue. They have provided 12.3 million pounds of food for those in need, in all 66 of our counties. This aids around 190,000 people each year.
The network maintains a network of 350 partnering agencies statewide, and the value of donated food annually to the program is over $18.5 million. Even though they have made an incredible impact, it’s important to know that hunger is still a pertinent issue in our state. Here are some facts we should be aware of:
South Dakota Hunger Statistics:
- 14.6% of individuals live at or below the poverty line
- One out of every 8 individuals are food insecure
- One in every 5 children under the age of 18 are at risk of going hungry
- South Dakota has three of the poorest counties in the U.S.
- Four of our counties are in the top ten U.S. counties with the highest poverty rates.
- 8 of the nation's 30 poorest counties are in South Dakota
- 40% of the state's school-aged kids qualify for free or reduced meals.
- 19.2% of citizens over the age of 50 live below the poverty line.
So how can you help make a difference in South Dakota?
Supporters in South Dakota and the U.S. are welcomed to join in by writing on an empty plate what they “can’t do on an empty stomach” and “what they could do to help end hunger.” Then, post your picture(s) to social media. Tag 'Feeding South Dakota's page on Facebook or @feedingsd on Twitter and Instagram. Include the hashtags #HungerActionMonth and #FeedingSD.
Also, refer to the calendar above for the '30 Ways in 30 Days' September campaign. Each day, 'Feeding South Dakota' challenges you to do something different to help, or to raise awareness on the issues.
Falls Park will also be lit orange today, the official color of hunger. Governor Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed September 8, 2016 as 'Hunger Action Day in South Dakota.
For more information, and for more ways you can get involved, please visit: http://feedingsouthdakota.org.