Sioux Falls businesses raise funds to settle student lunch debt
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Local businesses in Sioux Falls are coming together to help settle school lunch debt for students in the Sioux Falls School District.
In December of 2022, the Sioux Falls School District announced it has over $100,000 in student lunch debt by families.
Scott Heckel, owner of Severance Brewing Company, highlighted the team effort behind the fundraiser.
“This Friday starting at 4:40 p.m. we are going to have Taverns and Tots in here. They are going to be serving a school lunch-inspired meal and then giving ten percent of all their proceeds to the cause. We are also going from 4:40 to 7:30 p.m. giving a dollar per pint. We have music in here and then Ben from Causal Campfire will be setting up his shop as well,” said Scott Heckel, Severance Brewing Co. owner.
Heckel shared why he felt compelled to get involved.
“There’s over $100,000 in debt right now for Sioux Falls public schools, and when we heard they were trying to put an initiative together to try and clear all of that out and then create a sustainable way for kids to actually continue to get meals at school, we knew that was something we wanted to hop on board,” said Heckel.
In a statement to Dakota News Now, the Sioux Falls School District said, “Healthy meals are important to a student’s academic success. Income-eligible families can apply for free or reduced-priced meals. However, there are always children who barely miss the income eligibility and whose families are still struggling. We are blessed to live in a community that recognizes this need and steps up to fulfill it.”
The Casual Campfire Supply Company owner Ben Forred says he felt the need to step up not only as a local business owner, but as a parent with students in the district.
“They know kids that are impacted by hunger, and they know kids that are impacted by not having an up-to-date lunch balance and so it hits home a little bit for me but the whole purpose and mission behind me owning this business has been to feed children with my profit,” said Ben Forred, The Casual Campfire Supply Co. Owner.
Saying why it’s important to look at the future regarding student lunch debt.
“You can pay debt, there’s a $100,000 in the hole, you can pay all of that off, but it doesn’t change the root situation that there are families that don’t fit the criteria for free or reduced lunch but at the same time they don’t have the means to provide groceries and food to send to school every day,” said Forred.
For more information on the upcoming fundraiser, you can follow the links at Settle the Debt: A Fundraiser to Ensure All Kids Get a School Lunch — Severance Brewing Company (severancebeer.com) or Fundraiser by Benjamin Forred : SIOUX FALLS SCHOOL LUNCH DEBT (gofundme.com) if you are unable to attend the event in person but still want to donate.
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