SIOUX FALLS – Coach John Stiegelmeier, the winningest football coach in South Dakota State University history, has built the Jackrabbit program into a yearly contender within the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Football Championship Subdivision.
On a more personal level and for the third year in a row, John and his wife Laurie are tackling another rival: child hunger in South Dakota.
Children at risk of hunger are provided free or reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program. While this program effectively combats hunger during the school day, it does not address the needs of children when school is not in session. This is where Feeding South Dakota’s Child Hunger Programs step in.
One such program is the BackPack Program, designed to fill this gap by providing at-risk children with nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods during weekends and holidays. When asked through a survey, “In the last month, did you ever worry that the food in your house would run out before you were able to buy more?” 76 percent of parents whose children receive backpacks responded with “often” or “sometimes.” This program fills a significant gap for over 5,000 children in South Dakota who experience food insecurity.
“When the bell rings Monday morning, it’s incredibly difficult for a child to focus when she hasn’t eaten since Saturday and her stomach is rumbling with hunger pains,” said Jennifer Stensaas, communications coordinator for Feeding South Dakota. “We want to provide for these kids nutritionally so they can excel academically.”
Beginning this past Monday and continuing through May 24, the Stiegelmeiers will match every donation made to Feeding South Dakota’s Childhood Hunger Programs, dollar for dollar up to $12,000.
Online donations can be made at FeedingSouthDakota.org, mailed donations can be sent to 4701 N. Westport Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57107, Attn: Jennifer Robertson (reference Coach Stiegelmeier Matching Challenge in your memo line) and phone donations can be made by calling 605-335-0364.
To thank donors for their support of this matching challenge, the Stiegelmeiers and South Dakota State University are providing prizes consisting of:
• All donors are eligible to win a dinner for two with Coach John and Laurie Stiegelmeier. Valued at $250.
• All donors providing gifts for $500 or more are eligible to win four club level tickets and a parking pass to a 2019 SDSU home football game of the winner’s choice. Valued at $4,000.
• All donors who give $1,000 or more are eligible to win two passes to travel with the 2019 Jackrabbit’s football team to a game of the winner’s choice. Valued at $10,000.
“There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing that each one of us can do something so small to help some of the most vulnerable in our communities. A gift today can make a huge impact in the life of a child in need,” Coach Stiegelmeier said.