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COVID-19 food response does first food giveaway

On May 7, the Covid Food Response team provided supplemental food to members of the community in need.

The Covid Food Response team is a subcommittee of the Tea Area Food Pantry. Trinity Lutheran Church Deacon Christie Meier, along with Lead Pastor Tom Opoien, tLINK’s Amanda McKnelly, Frontier Elementary Principal Barb Hansen and Gloria Woodring with the Tea Area Food Pantry, worked to distribute food to at least 40 clients May 7.

“I don’t know how temporary this is going to be but it’s filling a need. There are 40 people who have registered. We have 30 extra boxes for those that have not registered. We’re prepared,” Meier said. “Most of the people that are coming tonight are non-food pantry clients. That tells me that the stress of Covid is affecting a much larger group.

That’s exactly why we started this because we knew that people have cut hours, cut jobs.”

The food pantry recently started partnering with Feeding South Dakota so each person picking up food received a box of non-perishable food items from them, as well as a supplemental bag of food from the food pantry. Each person also received a Fareway gift card to buy things like milk, meat, fruits and vegetables.

Their food donations and gift cards came from generous donations from Catttail Construction, Octane Ink and Ace Hardware. Customers at Ace could round up their purchase total during the month of March and customers at Fareway could purchase a gift card when they purchased their own groceries. They had large donations of food and money from two Tea Cruise nights. They also had baby formula to distribute thanks to a formula rep for Avera.

Meier said the food pantry is always in need of food.

“Monetary donations are the best because now that we’re linked to Feeding South Dakota, we can purchase food a whole lot cheaper or Fareway gift cards. Fareway gift cards are huge because they can get their perishables,” Meier said.

To donate food, gift cards or money, interested people can call Trinity Lutheran Church at 605-498-2343 and talk to the office manager. They can drop off donations between 9 a.m. and noon on weekdays or by appointment. Gift card or monetary donations can also be mailed to Trinity at P.O. Box 37, Tea, SD 57064. Make sure to mark checks with “Covid Response” in the memo to denote where it goes.

Food boxes will be distributed on the first and third Thursday each month at Trinity Lutheran Church, 335 W. 1st St., from 4-6 p.m. for as long as there is a need.

“As long as there’s a need, our whole goal is we don’t want anyone to go hungry,” Meier said.


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