The Banquet Sees Spike in Volunteers During the Holidays, Help Needed Year Round

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- During the holiday season, a place in Sioux Falls where the homeless or others in need go for a free meal sees a spike in volunteers. However, right after the holidays, it can be easy to forget about the non stop demand. So staff members are trying to get ahead of a yearly problem.

The Banquet is thankful for all its volunteers. They’re the reason meals are served 13 times a week to those in need all year long. It’s not difficult to find groups of people to help during the holiday season, but come January, it’s harder to find volunteers. Right now no one is signed up.

“Hunger never takes a vacation and our guests will be here and they will need a meal,” said Madeline Shields, Marketing Director for the Banquet. .

“We really encourage people to, you know come and serve in January and February and March and to plan ahead and to help us serve people in our community all months of the year,” said Shields.

According to The Banquet, groups that volunteer are asked to pay for the meal, prepare it and serve it to the community. Meals can cost anywhere between $300 to $1,000. The Banquet will never cancel serving a meal.

“You know that is the blessing of the Banquet. We have faith and everything always works out,” said Shields.

If they can’t find a group to volunteer, they’ll reach out to their “Banquet Angels” or individuals who are on call to help out when needed. However, that can get expensive as the angels don’t pay for the meals, they only help serve them.

“That really cuts into the bottom line of the Banquets general operating budget,” said Shields.

Bob Solomon has volunteered here for five years, something he always looks forward to.

“It’s fun. Everybody here is super nice. It’s not an intimidating environment. Come in, show up, they tell you what to do. It’s not a big commitment and you get a lot in return,” said Solomon.

The experience has helped him realize how big of a need there is for the Banquet in the community. He encourages others to give it a try.

Even though volunteer groups, like businesses, are asked to pay for the meal, the Banquet doesn’t want that to stop people from volunteering. They say they can work with all budgets.

If you are interested in volunteering click here for more info:

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