"Hunger makes childhood impossible." That statement from Feeding South Dakota is a sad and simple truth. Children who are hungry, don't do well in school and long-term hunger can cause an extensive list of physical and psychological consequences.

You many be thinking that we have a number of programs in the Sioux Falls area that are dealing with the issue and you'd be correct. Children can and do receive free or reduced cost meals through the National School Lunch program. Which is great for when they're in school.

But it does very little to address the issue of hunger when kids aren't in school. This is where Feeding South Dakota's Backpack Program steps in to help fill that gap. Recently a Backpack Program survey asked children if they ever feared running out of food at home, before more could be purchased, 67% of them said "often" or "sometimes".

Kids in the program often share food items with other family members, which means less nourishment for them. Additionally, as children move from elementary, to middle school and into high school they stop participating in the Backpack Program, due to the stigma they feel is attached to it.

There is a school food pantry program at Axtell Park for children and their families which can provide perishable food items (bread, milk, meat) which the Backpack Program cannot.

All of these programs come at a cost and many organizations contribute, but right now there is a shortfall. For a $150 sponsorship contribution you can provide a Backpack Program kid with nutritious food for an entire school year.

For more information call Allison Struck at 605-335-0364 ext.156, follow Feeding South Dakota on Facebook and at their website.

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