SIOUX FALLS - Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. presented a check to The Banquet’s Project: Supply Our Students, on Tuesday for more than $3,000.The money was collected through an event called Downtown Gives. Twenty-eight downtown businesses sold $15 coupon books throughout the holiday season, with all of the proceeds going to The Banquet.

During the Downtown Sioux Falls members meeting, Brienne Maner, of Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. presented the check….to me.

This is an amazing gift. To me it’s personal. I work full-time at The Banquet, which is a feeding ministry that serves 150,000 meals a year to people living in Sioux Falls. People from all walks of life find themselves sharing a meal at The Banquet. Some are looking for food for their body, but just as many are seeking food for their soul. The Banquet offers a fellowship like no other place I’ve been.
For the hundreds of families that cannot afford food, providing school supplies for their children is impossible.

That’s why this is personal. The majority of my job at The Banquet is to solicit donations for all The Banquet’s special projects and recruit volunteers to help with this very worthwhile project.

I’m the one who gets the hugs and gets to see the smiles on the faces of those children who walk away with the perfect backpack strapped to their back, knowing that when they show up on the first day of school they won’t be teased for having an old, worn out bag and no supplies, or worse yet no supplies at all.

The first day of school is a new beginning for these children who go without most of the things we all take for granted in our lives. So far this school year, The Banquet has given 6,510 brand new backpacks filled with school supplies to children in and around Sioux Falls. This could not be done without the thousands of private donors that make this happen. The Banquet receives no city, county, state, federal or United Way monies. It relies solely on each and every person that gives of time, talents and treasures. The Banquet is proud of its 15,000 yearly volunteers.

The $3,000 gift will provide five-hundred backpacks for children next fall. Thank you to Downtown Sioux Falls and all of the customers who purchased these booklets. I’m proud to be from a city that gives back to citizens in need.