HURON — Winners of the 2017 Hunger Games, Cornerstone Financial Solutions, received the traveling trophy and will have their name on the plaque honoring the company as this year’s winners.
Last year was the first year Cornerstone had participated in the games, finishing in second place. They returned this year determined to win.
Cornerstone Financial Solutions’ Dan Reinders said, “It was fun to work as a team to be able to give back,” and Michelle Stahl added, “It’s always a privilege to be able to give back to the community. The Hunger Games is a wonderful opportunity to do that.”
The Hunger Games is an annual competitive food drive to benefit the Backpack Program, which is a weekend food program for nutritional supplements. The program serves children in Wolsey-Wessington, Iroquois and Headstart as well as all Huron elementary schools including Holy Trinity.
There were also companies who contributed to the food drive without taking part in the games.
“The Hunger Games gave us enough for October and November,” said Mary Pearson, “If the numbers do not continue to rise.”
At the beginning of the year, which was last week, the Backpack Program had 505 kids in need, a number that has now increased to 550.
Last year the Backpack Program ended with the amount of children in need in the upper 400s. With greater need and higher costs this year, the United Way team is looking into ways to increase donations.
“We are going to look at ways to get creative with what we send home to reduce costs, while still sending six items home with kids for the weekend,” explained Pearson.
Rhonda Kludt, Executive Director said, “The success of the Hunger Games could not be more timely and more needed. We cannot say thank you often enough to all who participated in this program and to Northwest Pipe for sponsoring the food drive.
“As we begin the program this year, we are seeing our numbers skyrocket and the program as grown exponentially this past year,” Kludt added.
They assembled food for 505 children on Wednesday, and today the count is 550.
“In two shorts days we’ve had that kind of growth. Our program requires that every family fill out a form stating the extenuating circumstances they face which would warrant their need,” Kludt said. “When considering 62 percent of all children in the Huron School District receive free and reduced lunches, it becomes logical that our numbers would be as high for weekend food assistance.”
Donations, both monetary or food items, are always welcome. If anyone would like to sponsor a child for the year, the cost is approximately $120 per week per child. Last year the cost to operate the program was approximately $38,000.
“In ordinary life we hardly recognize that we receive a great deal more than we give,” said Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “and it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. We are so grateful.”
Photo by Angelina Della Rocco of the Plainsman
Gathered at Northwest Pipe to present Cornerstone Financial Solutions with the traveling trophy and plaque to honor the company for coming in first place for the Hunger Games, are from left, Neil Rogers, Tate Sporrer, Trevor McCaskell, Mary Pearson, Kristie Leptien, Lori Mack, Gordon Wollman, Lorenda Grace, Amy Fleischhacker, Michelle Stahl and Dan Reinders.