Lunch is Served: Group of NABS Alumni Serving the Needs of the Hungry

Lunch is Served: Group of NABS Alumni Serving the Needs of the Hungry

January 8, 2007

Concerned by issues of poverty and hunger in their city, area clergy - including NABS alums Mary Fast and Val Putnam - and Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson began holding round table discussions focused on these issues.

Documentation provided by day labor sources and The Banquet confirmed that in Sioux Falls more than 80 percent of those identified as "poor" adults were gainfully employed. Although these laborers earned an income, their paychecks - regardless of race, age, or sex - were committed toward meeting basic living expenses like rent and utilities. For these individuals and their families, food had become a luxury. In fact, further documentation from day labor providers in Sioux Falls verified that, because of their lack of financial resources, many of the working poor were putting in full days of manual labor without benefit of a noon meal. Convinced that this was not only unacceptable but also inhumane, this taskforce of committed samaritans dedicated themselves to actively addressing this need.

A solution has been created within a small brown paper sack. Chartered in 2005, Lunch Is Served, Inc., (LIS) is a non-profit organization with the mission to provide a nutritious mid-day meal for the working poor in the city of Sioux Falls. This outreach of serving sack lunches actively began on September 18, 2006, with a partnership of service between LIS and day labor locations in the city.

Presently, volunteer groups and individuals assemble lunches at Celebrate Community Church on Monday evenings between 6:00-7:00 p.m. Each bag consists of a sandwich, chips, fruit, dessert, and inspirational message. Lunches are distributed as day laborers leave for their assigned job sites on Tuesday morning. Because the lunches are packed the evening before, students and members of the working public are able to experience the joy of serving this need. Although Lunch Is Served currently provides lunches to its target population once a week, the prayer is that soon the ministry will expand to provide lunches five days a week.

From the work of the initial task force, an ambitious and dedicated Board of Directors has evolved. Shirley Halleen began serving as President when LIS' first president Mary Fast resigned because she and her family relocated to Omaha. Val Putnam continues to serve on the LIS Board with other community leaders that include NABS alums Halleen and Barb Elkjer as well as seminary employee, Carol Woltjer.

For more information on Lunch is Served, contact Kaye by calling 605.271.6161.