Watertown, SD --  Since 2011, the Watertown Sandwich Ministry has been proving that many hands make light work and caring hearts make a difference.

Fifteen percent of our population goes to bed hungry at least once a week. That’s 4,500 people.

“I love to eat, shouldn’t everyone be able to eat?” said coordinator Nyla Bergan.

She and twenty-plus volunteers are making an impact one sack lunch at a time.

Volunteers gather at the Salvation Army three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) to make and package 200 sandwich-based meals that are delivered throughout the community by more volunteers. The meal consists of bread, meat and cheese, homemade cookies, fresh fruit, a granola type bar with an extra fruit on Fridays (when funds are available).

In 2018, that will mean about 30,000 sandwiches and 60,000 cookies. The volunteer drivers will have put on more than 750 miles.

The effort is operated completely via donations and volunteers.

“I’m a retired teacher,” said volunteer Donna Wayt. “When I’m not substitute teaching, I come down here because we all want to help and give back.”

“People come because it’s on their heart,” said one volunteer.

“I saw a note posted on a building that said they needed help down here, so I came,” added Gloria VanDyhorst, yet another volunteer.

“Sometimes our budget needs help and we operate on prayer,” said one volunteer. Somehow, we make it. Recently, the Watertown Area Community Foundation awarded an $8,000 grant to help sustain the growing program. The effort also has ongoing support by several churches and the many individuals who give their time and treasure.

Currently, the group delivers sack lunches to apartment buildings including the Hi-Rise and Tower apartments and to McKinley trailer park. Watertown Sandwich Ministry hopes to grow to serve other local trailer parks but they need more help.

For more information, contact the Salvation Army, 605-886-4030. You can also stop by Monday, Wednesday or Friday and leave your name and number.