SDSU Extension partnered with local charities and governmental agencies to establish Partners Against Hunger, a nonprofit organizationwhose mission is; "Strengthening and uniting communities that all may be fed."
"SDSU Extension is excited to be a partner with this group in order to work with people in South Dakota to see what they need in order to help reduce hunger and increase food security for all individuals, families, and communities. This outreach cannot be accomplished alone, and it is wonderful to see how all of these organizations can come together to end hunger," said Suzanne Stluka, SDSU Extension Food and Families Program Director.
Partners Against Hunger began when USDA Rural Development Sec. Dallas Tonsager met with Rev. David Zellmer, Bishop of the South Dakota Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, regarding food ministry and feeding the hungry. After this meeting, representatives from state and federal agencies, three denominations, food pantry and feeding ministries and SDSU Extension were invited to brainstorm ways to fight hunger in South Dakota.
One of Partners Against Hunger's bold goals is to make healthy food accessible to everyone in South Dakota by 2015.
"I am excited about the dedication and commitment of the people representing the various organizations and agencies that are coming together to end hunger in South Dakota," said Bishop Zellmer.
Stluka was asked to join the action committee which helped draft a vision statement.
"SDSU Extension has been present since the very beginning of the formation of this group. We have helped with the facilitation of the vision and goals of this group, and we will continue to help lead this group forward towards those goals," said Stluka, who was also joined by David Olson, SDSU Extension Community Development program director.
Bishop Zellmer, Maria Birch of Trinity Lutheran Church of Chamberlain and Christine Sorenson of South Dakota USDA – Rural Development were appointed to work on the legal paperwork for the 501(c)3 status.
The group says they are eager to begin implementing their ideas and strategies, while recognizing additional collaboration is needed to increase awareness, provide research, educate people concerning the programs and resources already available and to gather and share success stories and ideas from across the state.
The next meeting of PartnersAgainst Hunger will be Jan. 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at South Dakota Housing Development in Pierre. Those interested in attending should contact Karen Rollag at South Dakota Synod, ELCA, 605-212-5441, or firstname.lastname@example.org.