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Thanksgiving Offering: Funding local hunger ministries

By: Dave Stucke, Dakotas Conference Communications


Flandreau UMC rounded up hundreds of jars of Peanut butter for their local food pantry, the Breadbasket. Photo from Pastor Amber Laffey.

When families and shut-ins need food assistance, there’s an opportunity to feed God’s people through local hunger ministries in the Dakotas. Out of compassion, and knowing a need existed, a member of the Flandreau United Methodist Church helped to found the Breadbasket Food Pantry in Flandreau, South Dakota, over 24 years ago.

Since the Breadbasket’s founding, the need for services has grown, and thanks to individuals and organizations, both religious and civic, those needs are being met completely from private donations. Every month a list of needs at the Breadbasket is shared.

Just this month, the Flandreau Ministerial Association, an inter-denominational group of pastors from the local churches, held a peanut butter challenge, called “Peanut Butter Wars”, and collected donations of peanut butter, an important source of shelf-stable protein, for the Breadbasket. Pastor Amber Laffey, serving Flandreau UMC, helped energize her congregation to bring in hundreds of jars of peanut butter for the challenge.


It takes lots of groceries to feed families facing food insecurity. Together, through volunteers and private donations, we are "Feeding the Dakotas."

“The folks at Flandreau UMC love to provide groceries for the breadbasket,” Pastor Amber says, “They also are volunteering many hours to do God's work through the Breadbasket and feeding people from all around the county.”

So far in 2021, The Breadbasket has served 733 families and 1,094 children in this small community on the Big Sioux River, near the borders of Minnesota and the Flandreau Indian Reservation. Through the month of October, a total of 2,527 people have been fed.

The Breadbasket is funded solely by donations from individuals and businesses in Moody County. Clients of the Breadbasket receive a large amount of food once a month. Clients get a cart full of food that changes every month, but always includes meat, kitchen staples like peanut butter, eggs, milk, and canned goods.


Baskets are prepared by volunteers at the Breadbasket Food Pantry in Flandreau, South Dakota. Photos courtesy of the Breadbasket facebook page.

Even with the generosity and enthusiasm from the community and the churches, the day-to-day operations of the food pantry are reliant upon each donation made. There is an especially high need in the Christmas season, when the Breadbasket’s clients’ budgets can be stretched by colder weather, and tough choices need to be made. The Flandreau UMC wants to help the Breadbasket purchase and distribute both food for the month of December, and special Christmas bags for families who may not be able to afford special items we often take for granted at Christmastime.

The congregation applied for a Hunger Grant, funded in part by your generous Thanksgiving Offering gifts, to assist the Breadbasket in feeding so many of their neighbors in this corner of the Dakotas Conference.

In applying for a Hunger Grant to support the Flandreau Breadbasket Food Pantry Christmas Food Giveaway, Flandreau United Methodist Church has shown their dedication to using the gifts of a few to feed many.

You can make a difference in the lives of many across the Dakotas by donating to the Bishop’s 2021 Thanksgiving Offering, Feeding the Dakotas. Your gifts will go to Feeding South Dakota, the Great Plains Food Bank in North Dakota, and local hunger ministries such as the Breadbasket in Flandreau.

“Let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).


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