Locals were lining up by 6:15 a.m. Friday to receive a free box of food in the parking lot of Knecht Home Center.
Volunteers were able to start distributing the 1,200 food boxes by 7:30 a.m. — an hour earlier than planned — and by about 11:15 a.m., all the boxes had been given away, Pastor Craig Moore of First Assembly of God said.
The drive-through event was sponsored by Knecht, First Assembly of God church, City Serve and Farmers to Families, a USDA food box program.
“It really was all ages (picking up food boxes). There were quite a few elderly people, there were people in their 20s, a lot of people with kids were coming through … all different walks of life. We had the opportunity to pray with people as they came through. You could tell there were people who were very touched by the fact we were giving food away,” Moore said.
Moore said volunteers also handed out copies of a film about Jesus and information about an upcoming crusade Sept. 24-26 featuring Billy Graham’s grandson, Will Graham.
One out of every nine individuals in South Dakota is food insecure, meaning they don’t consistently have access to enough food for all household members to maintain a healthy life, or they have limited access to nutritious food, according to data from Feeding South Dakota. One out of every six children in South Dakota is at risk of going hungry.
First Assembly had been contacted by City Serve and Farmers to Families, Moore said, because the organizations were looking for a church to organize volunteers for a local food giveaway.
Knecht Home Center offered its parking lot and equipment for unloading the boxes from the semi that trucked in the food, Moore said. About 50 volunteers from several local churches and Ellsworth Air Force base helped with the event.
“We’re excited to be able to be a blessing to our community. I’m so thankful for the many volunteers we had,” Moore said.