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Hundreds 'Jam Against Hunger'

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Over the last four years, the number of families that use food shelves in Sioux Falls has grown by about 90 percent. To make sure there is enough to go around, Feeding South Dakota is holding its annual 'Jam Against Hunger' in Sioux Falls.

Feeding South Dakota's food shelf on Phillips Avenue in Downtown Sioux Falls is keeping busy. Executive Director of Feeding South Dakota Matt Gassen said over 400 families stock up their pantries with the donations each week.

Terrace Park was rocking Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of people from all over the Sioux Empire came out to hear music at the 13th Annual ‘Jam Against Hunger.’

“The only admission is you bring in a donation of food,” said Gassen.

Gassen said over the last year the number of families that visit the organization's food shelf in Sioux Falls has risen by 15 percent.  And with the numbers continuing to rise, he said Sunday's event helps more than people may realize.

“The summer months are a little slower for food donations,” said Gassen. “So what's beautiful about this event is that it happens at the time of year when we can really use the help.”
Tom Abbott got quite the workout before he was able to relax in his shady spot at the event.    

“We've come the last six, seven, or eight years I suppose,” said Abbott.
While some donated a few cans of food at the event, Abbott went above and beyond. He made a few trips up and down the hill to the food truck to drop off over 70 items of food.

“We got together as a team at work at Capital One and our team got together six or seven bags,” said Abbott.

Abbott said his goal was to get at least $50 worth of food from his co-workers that he could bring to donate. He surpassed that, and he said the hardest part of it all was just hauling all the cans.

“I mean how could you go wrong with five hours of sun, listening to live local music, and all you have to do is bring a little bit of food, or a handful of cash,” said Abbott.

Gassen said its people like Abbott who help the organization keep its doors open and stomachs full. He said knowing how giving the community is, they will probably reach their goal of getting 14,000 pounds of non-perishable items from the event.

“Last year that was our goal and we exceeded that,” Gassen said.

Gassen said if they do make their goal, the 14,000 pounds would help significantly. Up to 30,000 pounds of food is given away to families in need each week.

 Feeding South Dakota helps more than 100,000 families across the state each year.
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