Food Security Action Team

Increasing access to charitable food sources

5-Year Goal

Provide access to charitable food resources within ½ mile of residences in neighborhoods where 20% or more of households receive SNAP benefits and do not have access to public transportation. (Target: Three of eight neighborhoods.)

 Primary objectives:

Align existing food resources to create an efficient access system

Develop a tactical plan to address food insecurity issues

Monitor performance indicators and the effect of changes


Studies conducted for Thrive and Feeding South Dakota by Augustana Research Institute estimate that nearly 7,000 children in Minnehaha County live in families that are food insecure – families whose normal eating patterns are disrupted because they can’t afford to buy enough food.

Families in need say they know charitable resources exist, but there’s a communication gap – they don’t know where providers are or when they’re open. Many low-income families don’t have internet access, but they do have cell phones. A Food Security task team took on the messaging challenge and invented a mobile phone app that makes it easy to find a simple, daily list of the locations and hours of charitable food services.

Research also indicates that there are three “food deserts” in Sioux Falls. There, distance makes it hard for working families to reach grocery stores or charitable distribution centers and 20% or more of the residents are eligible for SNAP benefits. The team studied demographic data in the three food deserts and targeted the area north of Rice Street and east of Cliff Avenue for a demonstration project.

Their goal is to collaborate with existing faith-based and nonprofit agencies to close the neighborhood’s charitable food gap. Their work led to Thrive’s Kid Link Initiative.

Nearly 7,000 children in Minnehaha County live in homes where parents may have to choose between buying a half-gallon of milk or the gallon of gas it takes to get to work.

Ask any classroom teacher. Hunger isn’t conducive to student success.

Educational Milestones

KINDERGARTEN READINESS Entering kindergarten ready to learn is a predictor of a child’s future educational attainment.

GRADE 3 READING PROFICIENCY Up to third grade, one learns to read. After third grade, one reads to learn. Falling behind in reading in elementary school is an educational handicap few children overcome.

GRADE 8 MATH PROFICIENCY Mastery of basic math skills is necessary to move on to algebra, and mastery of algebra is strongly linked to high school success and college enrollment.

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION High school graduates enjoy higher lifetime earnings and are less likely to depend on welfare or become involved in the criminal justice system than those who drop out.

POST-SECONDARY ENROLLMENT Post-secondary education is the gateway to the middle class. To be successful in the global economy some sort of post-secondary education is necessary.

POST-SECONDARY DEGREE COMPLETION A post-secondary degree or certificate is key to long-term financial gain, job stability, and success in and out of the workplace.

Food Security Action Team members

Jennifer Folliard, South Dakota Department of Health
Taylor Funke, Helpline Center
Joel Gackle, Community Stakeholder
Matt Gassen, Feeding South Dakota
Josh Hayes, Faith Temple Food Giveaway
Meg Hentges, South Dakota Public Broadcasting
Tom Holmes, Community Stakeholder
Sandra Melstad, SML Consulting
Lori Montis, Minnehaha County Human Services
Stephanie Peterson, Dakota Rural Action
Tami Prostrollo, Nightwatch Food Truck Ministry
Allison Struck, Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation
Adam Roach, City of Sioux Falls

Thrive Action Teams are key to our mission. They address obstacles to student success by focusing on creating systemic change in the conditions surrounding the educational system.

Action Teams are comprised of individuals who:

  • Represent a cross-section of business, government, nonprofit and faith-based communities.
  • Have knowledge and experience to contribute to the ecosystem issue being addressed.
  • Are willing to make a commitment to participate regularly in Action Team activities.

Teams can accommodate up to 15 members for two-year terms. One-third of Action Team membership turns over every two years and opportunities for Task Team volunteers are always available. Contact us to learn more.

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