The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development has awarded over $1.6 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) COVID-19 mitigation funds to the City of Brookings to address food insecurity within Brookings County.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the full extent of how local nonprofits serve as a lifeline to residents who need some extra help. Recognizing that the aging and failing Brookings Food Pantry facility wasn’t optimal for community needs, The City of Brookings and community partners started looking at their options. The city and partners worked with First District Association of Local Governments to work through the CDBG funding process, hoping to secure funds to replace the declining facility. Brookings did not meet the requirement to apply for CDBG funds based on income, so a special population survey was conducted, which provided an adequate response for the city to qualify.
As discussions about a potential new facility took place, the city and partner organizations realized that by creating a joint facility, the organizations would be able to maximize resources and do more for the community. On September 21st, a grant to fund the facility was awarded.
“The City of Brookings has done an excellent job of securing the financing necessary to make this project a reality,” said Commissioner Steve Westra. “These projects are expensive to fund, and you guys tackled the problem head-on. That’s the sign of a vibrant and growing community.”
The over $1.6 M will be used to fund a new approximately 7,000 square foot joint facility housing nonprofit organizations that provide resources addressing the needs of families and individuals who experience food insecurity. These organizations include the Brookings County Emergency Food Pantry, the Brookings Backpack Project, Senior Commodities, and the Brookings Area United Way. The building will be located on First Luther Church Property with a long-term lease and the United Way serving as the building’s owner.
Brookings Assistant City Manager Jacob Meshke commends those involved in the process stating, “this was a tremendous effort from our community partners and we are beyond grateful to the State for awarding the city a community development block grant. We are excited to take the next steps with this project and look forward to a new chapter in continuing to provide excellent services to our residents.”