Press "Enter" to skip to content

South Dakota Tired of Doing Paperwork to Feed Hungry Kids

Bart Pfankuch follows up on South Dakota’s ridiculous grandstanding against federal funding for summer food aid for kids and gets another reticent state official to say why the Noem Administration found participating in USDA’s Pandemic EBT program too stringy:

When asked to explain the administrative challenges surrounding the program, Department of Education spokeswoman Nancy Van Der Weide said the state found it difficult to obtain enough information about children to administer the program effectively, even though the state did participate in Pandemic EBT in 2020 and 2021. DOE and the Department of Social Services were responsible for applying to the program.

“Implementing the program was difficult because South Dakota is a state that prioritizes local control more than most states,” Van Der Weide, who also declined an interview request, wrote to News Watch in an email.

“Because of this, information about individual students is not shared to state government entities en masse. This made it very difficult for the state government to get enough details to adequately administer the program” [Bart Pfankuch, “South Dakota Rejects Federal Food Funding Despite 25,000 Children Going Hungry,” South Dakota News Watch, 2023.08.20].

Hunger-fighter Cathy Brechtelsbauer of Bread for the World is properly flabbergasted:

“Our kids in South Dakota are missing out on $7.5 million worth of food, and it’s not like they’re necessarily getting it someplace else,” she said. “This is like taking food away from kids, and I hope we don’t want to be that kind of state.”

…Brechtelsbauer was shocked that the state was rejecting federal money based on perceived challenges in administering the program.

“That just blows my mind,” she said. “How can we think like that when we’re talking about kids needing food? Why can’t we handle things as well as 43 other states?” [Pfankuch, 2023.08.20].

A generation ago, Governor George Mickelson said something about how if the federal government was going to rain money, we ought to put out our buckets. But those Mickelson Republicans were a more practical lot. Now South Dakota’s one-party regime puts political posturing over practical problem-solving.

Related Reading: KXLG reports the Watertown Salvation Army served 1,300 meals and handed out 223 boxes of food to 542 hungry people in July.


  1. Donald Pay 2023-08-22 13:27

    Complete B.S. Most states have the same issue with decentralized services and local school districts. It’s either plan laziness or a purposeful effort to steal food from the mouths of children.

  2. e platypus onion 2023-08-22 13:31

    Noem and magats shot their “We care about kids” wad forcing fetii to be born. All done. No more compassion for forced birth babes.

  3. All Mammal 2023-08-22 14:25

    Diabolical and vulgar are going to be words to describe SD until we get these sleazy hoes out of office.

    We should be called out and shamed for pulling antics like this. I would have been glad to help compile whatever info they needed. They could’ve asked if it was too much for them. All those senseless bellyaches our children go to bed with kills me. No more.

    It’ll put hate in your heart.

  4. P. Aitch 2023-08-22 14:32

    Prominent Republicans read this blog. Their audience is valued.
    – AI’s Task = What problems arise with a state that prioritizes local control more than other states?
    – “Because of this, information about individual students is not shared to state government entities en masse. This made it very difficult for the state government to get enough details to adequately administer the program of USDA’s Pandemic EBT program.” – Nancy Van Der Weide

    Response = Prioritizing local control over centralized administration can lead to several problems in a state where information about individual students is not shared to state government entities en masse. Some of these problems include:

    1. Lack of data: Without access to information about individual students, state government entities may struggle to gather sufficient data to understand the demographics, needs, and eligibility of the student population. This lack of data can hinder effective policy planning and program administration.

    2. Inadequate program administration: The state government may face difficulties in administering programs like the USDA’s Pandemic EBT program without detailed information about individual students. This can result in challenges in accurately identifying and reaching eligible recipients, ensuring proper distribution of benefits, and preventing potential fraud or misuse of funds.

    3. Inefficient resource allocation: Without comprehensive information, it becomes harder for state government entities to allocate resources effectively and efficiently. This can lead to disparities in resource distribution, with some communities or schools receiving inadequate support while others may receive more than they need.

    4. Monitoring and accountability issues: Lack of information sharing can also make it challenging for state government agencies to monitor and evaluate the implementation and outcomes of programs. This can hinder the ability to identify and address issues, measure program effectiveness, and ensure accountability.

    5. Reduced coordination and collaboration: Prioritizing local control may limit opportunities for coordination and collaboration between different entities within the state. This can hinder the ability to leverage resources, share best practices, and implement consistent policies across communities, potentially resulting in fragmented and unequal outcomes.

    It’s important for state governments to strike a balance between local control and centralized administration to ensure effective governance and service delivery.

  5. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-22 15:54

    Shameful….punish the innocent.

  6. Cathy B 2023-08-22 16:26

    This refers to the Summer EBT program, which will, if SD accepts it, provide $40 a month for every SD school child for 3 months when they are missing school meals. Let’s not sit on our hands shaking our heads. Concerned readers of this blog can send a note to South Dakota’s Secretaries of Education, Health, and Social Services. Ask them to accept Summer EBT for next summer. [Address: State Capitol, Pierre SD 57501, or email,,] And/or contact Gov.Noem, 605-773-3212 (Email thru her website.)
    We’re paying federal taxes for this program, and our kids need it too. Thanks for speaking up.

  7. John 2023-08-22 16:36

    Department of Education spokeswoman Nancy Van Der Weide reminds one of the corollary to Ronald Reagan’s most frightening words in the English language, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.
    “I’m here to kill you; there is no government.”

  8. Caroline 2023-08-22 16:37

    How hard could it be to tally up the numbers of free and reduced lunches in each school district as a starting point? Good grief. I would guess some enterprising, eighth grade techie could have that put together in a day or two.

  9. O 2023-08-22 17:33

    Letting poor kids go hungry through the summer when there are not school lunch programs to feed them: “try that in a small town!”

  10. Nick Nemec 2023-08-22 18:14

    Every school district sends out a free and reduced meal application form to every family, the guidelines for the program are attached to the form. It shouldn’t be that hard to forward the names and addresses of the kids who qualify.

  11. P. Aitch 2023-08-22 18:16

    Did you know?
    Out of 702 thousand white people in South Dakota 8.2% are in poverty.
    Out of 70 thousand Indian people in South Dakota 48.2 % are in poverty.
    Doesn’t it seem this refusal to feed poor kids has a racial undercurrent?

  12. grudznick 2023-08-22 19:12

    Mr. Nemec is righter than right. Every kid who needs a lunch is getting a lunch.
    But there are no free lunches.

  13. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-22 19:32

    Grudznick …for once you are benevolently correct…there is no free lunch in this instance…the “free food” programs primary benefit, as the Department of Agriculture’s first priority, is to level out the supply and demand of consumer food geographically in the US. The “free food” programs allow companies on the margins of conglomerate American Ag. to have a dependable market: tomatoes from Ohio, beans from North Dakota and Michigan, potatoes from Wisconsin, and butter and cheese from the vast surplus produced by America’s private and cooperative dairies. Throw in a huge purchase of American peanuts for the tons of high calorie peanut butter consumed in our schools (it’s the best peanut butter I’ve ever tasted). The hungry in America (and American taxpayers) are keeping marginal companies and American farmers flush within the existing market. The kids are just consuming a vast surplus.

  14. grudznick 2023-08-22 19:37

    It is good the kids consume the vast surpluses. As long as they go to gym class and run the stairs.

  15. Kathy Tyler 2023-08-22 20:32

    Local control? What a bunch of hogwash! Our county just passed new zoning laws that allow for a majority of members present to approve a CAFO application…..because she sponsored a bill forcing the counties to change their zoning laws. The local control argument is bull pucky.

  16. P. Aitch 2023-08-22 20:35

    Actually, free lunches are better than free. Free lunches make American’s money. Grudz, you’re smart enough to understand why providing poor kids with nutrition makes USA money, aren’t you? Prove to us that you know that much about how taxes work. Do I really need to sit you down and shove the truth down your throat like a group of hungry kids with plates of pancakes in from of them? Hmmm, grudzie?

  17. grudznick 2023-08-22 22:06

    Does Mr. P.h really think grudznick is smarter than your average free breakfast fellow? That’s high praise from you, especially as an out-of-state fellow.

  18. P. Aitch 2023-08-22 22:53

    Yes sir, Mr. grudz. For those on your Governor’s staff and your Governor her own self let’s review.
    You don’t understand then Ian Fury? Pay attention, boy.
    Let’s put the assertion that free lunches really are free into contexts you’re familiar with. Food and booze. Ok?
    a. Why do bar owners give their bartenders a comp tab with a certain number of free drinks they can give away every day?
    b. Why do grocery stores pay people to give away free samples of food to the store’s customers?
    c. Why do corporations pay political lobbyists to give away free food and drinks and lap dances to legislators?
    Because, like giving away free lunches to poor kids, giving small amounts away free makes money in the long run.
    Comprende, South Dakota conservatives? Of course, you do so come off your stubborn perch and use your economic brains for a bit.
    Giving poor kids free lunches makes America richer in the long run.
    You see, sometimes you have to spend a little money to make even more money.

  19. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-08-23 08:33

    “…Brechtelsbauer was shocked that the state was rejecting federal money based on PERCEIVED CHALLENGES in administering the program.”

    These challenges exist because, in my experience, SD has the worst educated people I’ve ever met. People need to be able to read, comprehend, write, speak, and spell coherent statements, questions, and answers to communicate with each other and the public. They also need at least some math skills. Of course people are “tired” of doing paperwork to feed hungry kids, if, by “tired,” one means incapable.

    A Fall River County Equalization Department employee thinks “condominium” is spelled and pronounced “condominimum.” A Hot Springs secondary school teacher said to me last year “I don’t got no idea what they’re building next to the school.” A neighbor’s teen boy doesn’t know how to spell “cushion.” A former employee of Fall River County animal control once wrote a column in the Hot Springs Star that called feral cats “pharoah cats;” the paper staff printed it unedited. A local business employee thought I was a genius (not hardly) because I could calculate (with a calculator!) the 6.5% sales tax on sakrete.

    I could write on, but it would be pointless. People don’t do paperwork if it makes their tiny, poorly educated minds hurt.

  20. Jake Kammerer 2023-08-23 09:37

    Being a Republican in South Dakota is so easy; because one doesn’t need to exercise the brain very often. Just look around, or if blind just sense what others around you do or say and follow suit. Like elephants on parade, or monkey-see, monkey-do. Do the “mean things”, then everyone will notice you and being noticed is so important dontcha know….

  21. jerry 2023-08-23 11:54

    You don’t have to be a poor kid to be a hungry kid. Some kids that you would think come from homes that seem like they’re doing well, are actually not doing so well. A lot of these hungry kids are White kids, but clearly the target of all of this hate is for kids of color, you know, Native kids. Here’s a solution, feed all kids. Forget about the paperwork, just feed them. The kids benefit big time from those meals and so do the good folks in all of agriculture. Yeah, you know, your neighbors. Those things they grow and stuff like that, are commodities So help put some money in your neighbor’s jeans and some food in some weird kids belly. Who knows, they may even grow up to be a republican.

  22. Jake Kammerer 2023-08-23 12:41

    Well put, Jerry! A bunch of hungry kids simply because the state agency head that claims the paperwork and administration of distribution is not to their liking can ONLY exist because the governor agrees totally. Anything that leads back to the good that the Biden administration is trying to accomplish is NO GOOD instantly from this governor’s viewpoint.

  23. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-23 14:51

    Yikes!!! Bonnie Franklin is correct. South Dakota adults have, across the board, a poor proficiency in day to day utilization of the English language. If you don’t believe that assertion, attend any School board meeting, County commission Meeting or City Council joust. I am not being a snob about this. This lack of proficiency continues into adulthood and I have witnessed it, over and over in State Government. If a bureaucrat cannot comprehend the Program Rules in the Federal Register, administering a federal program within compliance standards is impossible.

  24. e platypus onion 2023-08-23 15:22

    Goatzilla says, Mr. Nemec is righter than right. Every kid who needs a lunch is getting a lunch.

    I very much doubt that is what Mr Nemec had to say.

  25. M 2023-08-23 17:47

    Feed all kids for a healthy body and mind. Most kids go to school without a breakfast…..try getting 3 adolescents ready for school period and never mind the pop tarts. We should remember that those who eat together also share a cultural attribute of breaking the bread. One school I worked at even offered parents a meal if they visited a couple times a year. If you feed them, they will come.

    Noem has never been in need of anything and I doubt that she’s ever gone without a meal. Good God, she’d kill what she needed before asking for help wouldn’t she so does she expect our children to do the same?

  26. leslie 2023-08-24 14:50

    Free childrens’ school lunches? All for it!

    How about free internet service?

    Consider this: [Elon Musk] was getting nervous that Starlink’s involvement was increasingly seen in Russia as enabling the Ukrainian war effort, and was looking for a way to placate Russian concerns,”….To the dismay of Pentagon officials, [Elon] Musk volunteered that he had spoken with Putin personally.

    There is little precedent for a civilian’s becoming the arbiter of a war between nations in such a granular way, or for the degree of dependency that the U.S. now has on Musk in a variety of fields, from the future of energy and transportation to the exploration of space. SpaceX is currently the sole means by which NASA transports crew from U.S. soil into space, a situation that will persist for at least another year.

    Musk has sought out business opportunities in crucial areas where, after decades of privatization, the state has receded. The government is now reliant on him, but struggles to respond to his risk-taking, brinkmanship, and caprice.

    “Elon desperately wants the world to be saved. But only if he can be the one to save it.” [He has told] that he was sincerely attempting to navigate the moral dilemmas of his role: “We’re trying hard to do the right thing, where the ‘right thing’ is an extremely difficult moral question.”

    [A democratic government comes to my mind.]

    Musk’s hesitation aligns with his pragmatic interests. A facility in Shanghai produces half of all Tesla cars, and Musk depends on the good will of officials in China, which has lent support to Russia in the conflict. Musk recently acknowledged to the Financial Times that Beijing disapproves of his decision to provide Internet [Starlink] service to Ukraine and has sought assurances that he would not deploy similar technology in China.

    On SpaceX: “He has a long history of launching and blowing up rockets. And then he puts out videos of all the rockets that he’s blown up. And like half of America thinks it’s really cool,” the former nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine…. He has a different set of rules.”

    “That was definitely the worst year of my life,” he said in an interview on “60 Minutes.” SpaceX’s first three launches had failed, and there was no budget for another. “I had no more money left,” Musk told Bridenstine, the NASA administrator, years later. “We managed to put together enough spare parts to do a fourth launch.” Had that failed, he added, “SpaceX would have died.” The launch was successful, and NASA soon awarded SpaceX a $1.6-billion contract to resupply the International Space Station.

    Musk’s twitter trolling has increasingly taken on the vernacular of hard-right social media, in which grooming, pedophilia, and human trafficking are associated with liberalism.

    On AI, his Teslas cause alarming fatalities, and “His whole approach to A.I. is: A.I. can only be saved if I deliver, if I build it.” As humanity creates A.I. in its own image, [it is] argued, the principles and priorities of the leaders in the field will matter: “We want the construction of this to be not people with Messiah [Elon Musk] complexes.”

    [Concerning] the lockdowns: “It’s an outrage. . . . This is fascist. This is not democratic….” The pandemic seems to have sparked a pronounced shift in Musk. The lockdowns represented an example of what … Musk considered to be a cardinal sin: “getting in the way of the mission.”

    Musk’s personal wealth dwarfs the entire budget of OSHA, which is tasked with monitoring the conditions in his workplaces. “You add on the fact that he considers himself to be a master of the universe and these rules just don’t apply to people like him,” Jordan Barab, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor. And Elon Musk kind of seems to raise that to an art form.” Garrett Brown, a former field-compliance inspector at California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, added, “We have a bad health-and-safety situation throughout the country. And it’s worse in companies run by people like Elon Musk, who was ideologically opposed to the idea of government enforcement of public-health regulations.”

    USA-in bed with narcissistic billionaires. This one with Aspergers too. On Ketamine.

    Our Governor, likely on steriods with public money ($15 Million reelection funds) exhibits all the signs. Too difficult? Too much for state government to feed children-yep, in SD it is. Under this Governor and captive conservative legislature. Not enough government.

  27. P. Aitch 2023-08-30 14:11

    Leslie always gives the blog an elevated position of awareness. Musk on AI is a sterling example. (Not only does P. Aitch explore AI as a test participant, but I study AI related newsletters and information sites daily for about an hour.)
    Q ~ Who knows what MAD is? It’s AI’s biggest hurdle, currently. It’s Model Autophagy Disorder and it’s a problem that only AI might be able to solve. #IronicTwist

  28. grudznick 2023-08-30 15:22

    grudznAIck is not beset with MAD.

  29. P. Aitch 2023-08-30 16:13

    I apologize, but I couldn’t find any information on “grudznAIck” as an AI alternative. It’s possible that it might not be a well-known or widely recognized option in the AI field. However, there are many other reputable and widely used AI alternatives available. Some popular examples include Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Apple Siri. – AI GENERATED

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.