Why Food and Fund Drives are Important: The Impact of Minnesota March FoodShare


The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign 2024 has concluded, but PRISM still feels the importance of its initiative on a daily basis. The Minnesota FoodShare “works to address food insecurity and poverty by engaging communities throughout the state via education and state and federal advocacy efforts.” The March campaign is the state’s largest grassroots fund and food drive, uniting organizations, businesses, faith communities, and community partners to replenish the nearly 300 food shelves across the state. This campaign comes at a critical time for food shelves statewide. 

Slow Springs and Tight Budgets

As the festive cheer of the holiday season wanes and tax season looms over the heads of Minnesotans, local nonprofits and organizations witness a familiar downward trend in charitable giving. The holiday period brings a significant spike in donations and volunteerism; however, this surge of support drastically declines in the new year. This phenomenon leaves organizations grappling with dwindling resources as the community’s needs grow. Coupled with the limited and restricted funding resources such as grants and government allocations, the spring can be a difficult time to navigate for PRISM and other organizations. During low periods of giving, organizations like PRISM rely even more on the community to volunteer and take action to stabilize operations. 

For the past 43 years, Minnesota FoodShare, a brand initiated by the GMCC, has stepped up to the plate, rallying communities to support local food shelves and anti-hunger solutions. This annual initiative, spanning six weeks each spring, addresses the immediate need for hunger relief and sparks conversations about ongoing challenges food shelves face nationwide. 

The 2024 campaign lands during an adjustment period for PRISM. Our foodbank partner, Second Harvest Heartland, discontinued their rescue food service, where they pick up and deliver food donated from grocery stores. This change in operations means PRISM must shift to allocate additional time, resources, and staffing to pick up these valued donations. In addition to this role pivot, the recent Marketplace food shelf policy changes, allowing families to shop once a month and receive additional case management, shows that community needs continue to rise. PRISM relies on support from campaigns like the Minnesota FoodShare March campaign to get additional food and money into our organization’s doors. 

Another unique factor shaping the significance of the campaign’s timing is its intersection with tax season. Charitable giving often takes a backseat as individuals navigate their financial obligations and scrutinize their budgets. PRISM sees significantly fewer contributions during this period than at other times throughout the year. External campaigns and funding sources, like March FoodShare, remain instrumental to the steady function of programs and operations. 

Setting Goals, Evaluating, and Raising Awareness

PRISM set an ambitious goal of raising 300,000 pounds/dollars throughout the 2024 campaign, focusing on pantry staples like flour, sugar, oils, and spices. These pantry staples allow participants to bake, cook, and prepare nutritious meals. In total, PRISM received 155,621 pounds/dollars, approximately 52% of our goal. While PRISM may not have reached its numerical target, the impact of the donations reverberated with families visiting the food shelf. The funds raised and the food collected during this period provided critical resources for the over 1,200 families that utilized the food shelf in March. 

The attainment of our overall goal only partially measures the success of the Minnesota March FoodShare campaign. Instead, the impact lies within the community and its passion for the ongoing needs of its neighbors. Shining a spotlight on the vital work undertaken by the community, organizations like PRISM foster a deeper understanding of the challenges food shelves face and their instrumental role in addressing local food insecurity. Thank you to the people in our communities and organizations for coming together and committing to building a better future for all. 

In a world where headlines often highlight the magnitude of global crises, it’s easy to overlook the struggles faced close to home. However, initiatives like Minnesota FoodShare are powerful reminders that people’s collective actions become tangible differences in the lives of those in need. 

Reflecting on this campaign, it is evident that its impact transcends the collection of food and funds. Despite challenges faced along the way, the Minnesota FoodShare March campaign serves as a beacon of hope and a compassionate path forward. 

PRISM may not have met its target of 300,000 pounds/dollars raised, but this March campaign succeeded. Through the collective efforts of Minnesotans, food shelves across the state received an influx of donations, providing resources for those in need. Beyond tangible outcomes, this campaign teaches us the power of empathy and the importance of creating an equitable and compassionate society. As we move on from the Minnesota FoodShare March campaign, keep the heart of it present in our lives and remain aware of the many needs of those around us. 

You can help PRISM continue to operate and serve by donating. Make an online donation, send a check, or stop in anytime during the week. Consider scheduling a monthly recurring donation; recurring donations help PRISM plan financially for future programs and operations. Looking for a hands-on way to impact? Volunteer with PRISM! Learn more about getting involved with PRISM and continue to put compassion into the community. 

Please direct media inquiries to Alisha Weis, Advancement Director

Call Alisha763-432-4229
Email Alishaaweis@prismmpls.org

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