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May 16, 2018 06:06 PM

Restaurant Cooks Up More Help For Hungry Students

Last year, the Sioux Falls School District received more than $90,000 to help students who can't afford lunch. Now the owner of the restaurant that donated the money, is hoping to beat the number this year.

On Tuesday evening, Chef Jesse Severson wasn't in the kitchen. Instead, you could find him and Barrel House owner Mark Fonder at a table cooking up something. 

"I guess we're going to step up our goal," Fonder said. 

Fonder is unveiling a new non-profit called the Hungry Hearts Foundation. Just like last year, he and his colleagues want to keep kids fed in school. 

"We don't do this for the recognition, we do this for the kids. We do this for our community and for the kids. We do this for our community and for our future leaders of our community. If we don't do it, who else is going to do it?" Severson said. 

This year's goal is to raise more than $100,000, and best the $92,000 check they gave to the school district.

"We set high hopes, you know? I think with everyone on board, trying for it, I think we'll get there," Fonder said. 

That's not all.  Barrel House will also raffle off a 2018 Jeep Renegade in August. When the Barrel House cooked up this idea, Fonder says he knew people would line up to help. However, he didn't expect they'd come back for seconds. 

"We did not know how big it was going to grow and now we know there is a need for it, so we're truly blessed here at the Barrel House to help do it and feed the kids," Fonder said. 

The School District will put the money into an angel fund for students who can't afford lunch. The Barrel House also recently won the HELPLine Center's Corporate Humanitarian Award after the district nominated it for the distinction. 
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