A Worker Moving Pallets Of Donated Food In A Warehouse

Tackling hunger in South Dakota

Hear from the man—and teams—fighting for the hungry

I’m a storyteller by trade, so it isn’t often that I’m left speechless. Matt Gassen had me at a loss for words. I was interviewing Matt at Feeding South Dakota in Sioux Falls. He’s the CEO. His job is to lead a team that is dedicated to giving back and eliminating hunger.

We were sitting under the bright camera lights, in front of boxes that would soon be filled with much-needed food. I’d asked Matt about the public’s perception of hunger—something his team deals with on a daily basis—and his answer had such power, I had to take a few moments to absorb the impact. I’m pretty sure the camera crew behind me shed a few tears.

I could tell you more, but Matt does a better job.


Every single week, Feeding South Dakota assists in providing temporary food assistance to approximately 21,000 hungry individuals and families in South Dakota. In 2015, this dedicated army of staff and volunteers distributed 12.3 million pounds of food in the fight against hunger. Thanks to its partnership with Feeding America, Feeding South Dakota has access to food that is donated by corporations all across America. Land O’Lakes, Inc. is proud to be one of those donors.

Part of the Land O’Lakes Foundation, the First Run program donates truckloads of fresh dairy products to food banks across the country to help alleviate hunger in local communities. This donation to Feeding South Dakota was the program’s 104th—and it won’t be the last. But sharing this food with the hungry wouldn’t be possible without the givers like Matt. It’s their deep-rooted belief in giving back to their communities that brings thousands of meals to tables.

As I left the food bank that day, and even today as I write this post, I find myself wondering what I can do to help. Matt had a suggestion there, too. I could share what I learned, tell my friends and family about the real face of hunger. These are everyday people like you and me. They aren’t living in faraway places, but in communities close to home. And when food isn’t a guarantee, something as simple as a meal of mac and cheese can make a difference in someone’s life.