Helpline Center, DoorDash helping Banquet with ‘Project SOS'

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 6:18 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Helpline Center has been busy during the pandemic. Not only fielding thousands of calls but starting a new partnership with the Banquet.

Usually, the Helpline Center receives around 60,000 calls a year.

“Since the pandemic hit in mid-March we have answered over 44,000 phone calls that have been specific to COVID-19,” said Janet Kittams, CEO of the Helpline Center.

The Helpline Center is a non-profit organization that connects people in South Dakota to information and resources.

“It might be questions about the disease, the symptoms, how to get tested, and then it might be resources that people may need if they lost their job if they were furloughed if they need to find food, rent assistance, mortgage assistance,” said Kittams.

Now the Helpline Center is teaming up with the Banquet in Sioux Falls to help even more people. Through Project: SOS (Supply Our Students). It's a program where the Banquet collects backpacks and supplies. Then distributes them to children in need.

“In the past, we’ve always had a couple of big distribution days over at Whittier Middle School and because of COVID-19, we’ve had to kind pivot and do it differently now,” said Andrew Hewitt, Director of Development and Marketing at the Banquet.

This year, families can receive their school supplies contact-free.

“The Helpline Center was fortunate enough to receive a national grant from United Way Worldwide and also DoorDash. So we actually can deliver the school supplies to individuals homes,” said Kittams.

Last year, the Banquet handed out around 6,000 backpacks filled with school supplies. Banquet staff says this partnership will allow them to continue to help thousands of families while doing so safely.

“Without the partnership, It’s hard to imagine what distribution would have looked like. So for the Helpline to approach us and to think of us to utilize this grant was a game-changer for us, really impactful,” said Hewitt.

"To be able to put students on the same level playing field, having their basic supplies provided is just an essential piece for students to be successful in school no matter what their socio-economical backgrounds are."

Besides DoorDash delivery, families can opt to pick-up their backpack at the Banquet’s East 8th Street location. Families can still register to receive supplies. And the Banquet is still in need of more volunteers and donations. For more information click here.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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