Topic: Neighbors in Need
KOTA-TV and KOTA-AM/South Dakota
For more than two decades, KOTA-TV and KOTA-AM in Rapid City, S.D., have partnered with the Boy Scouts and South Dakota Army National Guard to feed the hungry. Over the years, the annual KOTA Care & Share Food Drive has collected more than 6 million pounds of food and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to help those less fortunate. Each year, the main collection occurs from Thanksgiving to January. During this time, Boy Scouts leave and then collect donations bags from viewers’ front doors. The stations run hundreds of public service announcements, including reminders on when bags are being dropped off and picked up. The stations supported the most recent drive with multiple interviews and news stories, which helped bring in the nearly 250,000 pounds of food and $50,000. To provide resources for the needy year-round, the stations team with businesses and groups to create additional events to replenish area food banks at other times of the year. The "World’s Largest Drive By," where viewers and listeners driving by the KOTA studios are invited to stop and enjoy a bagel and cup of coffee in exchange for a donation of canned food, is just one example. "We literally wouldn’t be doing what we are without KOTA’s support," said Matt Gassen, director of Community Food Banks of South Dakota. "They provide integral support to stock our food pantries for those that need food assistance." The success of the Care & Share Food Drive has inspired the Boy Scouts to adopt similar efforts nationwide.