SPEARFISH | The Northern Hills Hunger Banquet returns to increase awareness of the reality of local hunger and poverty during the 2020 Northern Hills Hunger Banquet Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.
The banquet will take place in the Jacket Legacy Room, located on the second floor of the Black Hills State University Student Union. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
During the event, participants receive a ticket, are assigned to a class and will be served a meal coinciding with that class. The event will highlight local stories and statistics to further the impact of the experience.
The event creates awareness about hunger and poverty issues in the Northern Black Hills, as well as generating exposure for Northern Hills Sources of Support (SOS).
Northern Hills SOS is a non-profit organization located in Spearfish. Their mission is to create a poverty-aware community that builds strong and supportive relationships with those in need.
SOS also coordinates with other non-profits in the area to help identify gaps and eliminate overlaps in services for those in need.
"Our inaugural Hunger Banquet in January of 2019 was a great success and we're so excited to bring it back for 2020,” said Christine Pierson, NHSOS Executive Director.
“We received very positive feedback and it allowed us to spread the word about Northern Hills Sources Of Support (SOS) and how we are helping to connect those in need to the resources they need. This event truly opens people's eyes to what hunger and poverty feel like. It really hits home when you realize that these are local statistics and stories being shared at this event. This is happening across the street or around the corner from you and across all of our Northern Hills communities.”
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Since the past Hunger Banquet in January, SOS has started meeting one-on-one with people in need.
“We've started building relationships with people in an effort to connect them to the resources they need and to advocate for them,” Pierson said. “It's crucial to build a relationship with the person so that they know they're not alone in their situation. Feelings of alienation and despair are so common when you are struggling to make ends meet. Having a friend and supporter alongside you can make a world of difference and that is exactly what SOS hopes to provide. We're so grateful that folks in the community have been so receptive and supportive of SOS and our mission and we look forward to another fantastic Hunger Banquet event!"
Since the inaugural banquet, Northern Hills SOS has gained momentum. The organization recently hired Pierson as its executive director. In her role, Pierson meets with those in need and helps connect them to the resources they need. She is also coordinating and collaborating with area non-profits and agencies to raise awareness about their services. SOS was the recent recipient of a $10,000 donation from the 100+ Women Who Care About Spearfish group. The donation not only helps SOS financially, but increases the exposure and outreach of the organization.
The inaugural Hunger Banquet in 2019 drew 180 attendees and volunteers, ages 2 months to 85 years old who raised $925 to support the growth of Northern Hills SOS. In addition, 204 pounds of food was donated to the Spearfish Community Food Pantry.
The Northern Hills Hunger Banquet is limited to the first 200 people. The event is open to all ages and is child-friendly.
The RSVP deadline is Jan. 21. To RSVP, call 605-920-1975 or email northernhillsSOS@gmail.com.
The Northern Hills Hunger Banquet is presented by Northern Hills SOS and the BHSU Multicultural Committee.
There is no entry fee for the Hunger Banquet. However, cash or non-perishable food donations are appreciated. Cash donations will benefit Northern Hills Sources of Support. Non-perishable food donations will benefit several area food pantries.
Learn more by visiting northernhillsSOS.org or the Facebook page for SOS, @northernhillsSOS.