est fest

Event attendees for the annual “Est Fest Trail Ride” held this year at Gunbarrel Ranch in Wessington Springs are shown above. Funds from Est Fest and Steve Grove, Gunbarrel Ranch owner, were directed to the Springs Blue Bag Nutrition Program aimed at helping provide meals to  kids at risk of going hungry.

Last month, Gunbarrel Ranch in Wessington Springs hosted 103 women for the annual “Est Fest Trail Ride.” According to event organizer Dawn Mutchelknaus, the group of riders typically direct proceeds from the ride to the host ranch for their time and hospitality. Gunbarrel Ranch owner Steve Grove requested that Est Fest riders instead direct the funds to a local organization.  

Loree Gaikowski, Wessington Springs Area Chamber & Development Director, helped facilitate the donation, suggesting that the Springs Blue Bag Nutrition Program, a supplemental food program helping families in Jerauld County, is in need of funding after a spring and summer of record number of bags delivered to kids in Springs and Alpena. Once Grove heard about the vital role Blue Bag plays for children in the area, he decided to match the $1000 Est Fest donation, resulting in a generous $2000 gift for the Blue Bag Program. 

A card of thanks from Blue Bag volunteers can be found in this issue on PAGE NINE  

About Blue Bag

While Wessington Springs School District provides free or reduced meals to children at risk of hunger during the school week, it does not address the needs of children when school isn’t in session.

This is where the Springs Blue Bag Nutrition Program fills an important void with its backpack program. This program provides children with nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods once school lets out before weekends.

Participating children are identified by teachers or administrators and families are welcome to request that their child(ren) participate. Food is discreetly sent home with children at the end of each school week and the names of participants are kept strictly confidential. The Blue Bag Program sends 12 nutritious food items home including four entrees, four fruit/vegetables and four snacks that kids of all ages can easily prepare themselves.