During the school year, 31% of children in Hughes County and 35% of children in Stanley County participate in the United States Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch, School Breakfast Program.

Across the country, statistics show that only one in seven children who ate free or reduced lunch during the school year also participate in a summer meal program. This adds further strain to families who are already struggling to put food on the table. But when classrooms empty for the summer in these two counties, access to a USDA Summer Food Service Program free feeding site is completely non-existent.

Feeding South Dakota is partnering with several organizations to help fill a gap. These partners include Fort Pierre Community and Youth Involvement Center / Stanley County Elementary School, Southeast Pierre Community Center, Oahe Family YMCA, and South Dakota Urban Indian Health Clinic. While Feeding South Dakota is not an on-site meal provider, it does provide nutritious packages of food over the weekends to children in need through Feeding South Dakota’s Summer BackPack Program during the summer months.

Anyone under the age of 18 can receive a backpack each week to take home over the weekend. A complete listing of where summer backpacks are available in the Pierre / Ft Pierre area is at www.feedingsouthdakota.org/summerbp.

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