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Rapid Valley partners with Feeding South Dakota

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communication, Dakotas UMC

Mobile Food Pantry 2

Loading food into vehicles at Rapid Valley UMC. Photos courtesy of Rapid Valley UMC.

Rapid Valley United Methodist Church in Rapid City, South Dakota, is partnering with Feeding South Dakota to distribute food to 150-200 families each month. Rev. Mark Johnsen, who services Rapid Valley UMC, had previous connections with Feeding South Dakota and responded to a need for a distribution location for the mobile food pantry.

“I had worked with Feeding South Dakota when I served the United Methodist Church in Miller, South Dakota,” says Pastor Mark. “When I got to Rapid Valley, I heard that Feeding South Dakota was looking for a partner. I saw an opportunity to reach out to our neighborhood.”

Each month more than 12 volunteers gather in the parking lot to unload the Feeding South Dakota truck and set up stopping points or places for cars to pick up at least three boxes of food. Volunteers put the boxes of food into the back seat or trunk of the vehicles as they drive through.

When a vehicle arrives at the food distribution, someone greets them and takes some information. There are a couple of people to direct the traffic. Pastor Mark is at the beginning or end of the food distribution. 

“I greet people as they are coming or leaving. I introduce myself and talk to people. It is a great way to connect and hear people’s stories,” says Pastor Mark

Feeding South Dakota is one of the three recipients of the 2021 Miracle Offering: Feeding the Dakotas. Our goal is to raise $75,000 to distribute to Feeding South Dakota, Great Plains Food Bank of North Dakota, and local hunger ministries.  Feeding South Dakota matches our gift up to $25,000 through membership donations. Access resources for the 2021 Miracle Offering here.


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