BROOKINGS – At 2:30 last Thursday afternoon, the cars were lined up on Third Street and ready to enter the parking lot at Ascension Lutheran Church.
Ready to put all the fixings – and then some – for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the trunks of 372 cars were about 15 volunteers.
Joanne Matthes, coordinator of volunteers for Feeding Brookings, called the week’s food distribution a special event.
“What’s special about it is that we’ve got the turkey trimmings, which the churches supplied, and we have some turkeys coming from Feeding South Dakota,” she explained. “And some vouchers that we give out; so that’s special for Thanksgiving.”
Feeding Brookings, a local nonprofit, working with Feeding South Dakota, part of the Feeding America network, provided 200 fresh-frozen young turkeys, 100 $15 Hy-Vee vouchers that could be redeemed for turkeys (or other food items), plus milk, butter and apples. Brookings churches provided sweet potatoes, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, gravy, mixed fruit and corn. Bread, desserts and produce were provided by Walmart.
While this Thursday’s food distribution was billed as special, Matthes said the Thanksgiving foods were “all mixed in with what we regularly give out.”
The food distribution is held every Thursday at Ascension Lutheran Church; it’s a joint effort made possible with local volunteers, local funding, local donations of agricultural produce, some grants, some federal assistance and Feeding South Dakota. It’s been an ongoing effort to alleviate hunger in South Dakota; and the weekly numbers of families being served has continued to grow in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Matthes said that during January and February about 120 families a week were being served. “Through the summer we’ve been going up. Our average in October was about 240,” she added. “We served 272 people a couple weeks ago. We think everyone that’s coming through really does need it, obviously.”
She expressed her gratitude to all those who made this special Thanksgiving distribution possible. Additional information on its “Drive-Thru Distribution” initiative can be found online at www.feedingbrookings.org.
Contact John Kubal at [email protected]