PRISM Adjusts Services, Sees Unprecedented Need
Michelle Ness might be the executive director of a nonprofit, but she’s spending hours in a sweatshirt packing and handing out food. With corporations pulling back on volunteers and regular volunteers staying home, the nonprofit has everyone working in the cooler, sorting food and just doing what needs to be done.
“We are a small team of 10 people, but we are working really hard,” said Michelle Ness. “We’ve all been redeployed to make sure we can continue providing food.”
The nonprofit has changed operations drastically. Instead of clients coming in to meet with a case manager, families drive up on the south side of the building, meet briefly with a case manager, and have the food items located directly into their vehicles. It’s a simple process where families are leaving with 70 pounds of food that’s meant as a food supplement.
“People from all over the Twin Cities are coming in. We’ve always prided ourselves on providing very high quality, professional, healthy food and I think the word is out in the community,” said Ness.
The numbers tell the story too. In March of 2019, the food shelf saw 821 visits. In March 2020, they saw 1,257.
PRISM Says Volunteers, Donations Down
Volunteers are cutting back on hours, and donors are also not bringing in as much food and nonperishable items. So PRISM has to purchase additional food to give away. Online donations are up, but with the new expenses, overall donations are still down.
There are several ways to still donate. The nonprofit has some in-kind suggestions that might be helpful to engage children. PRISM also has an Amazon “wish list.”
But the best gift is a monthly reoccurring donation that allows the nonprofit to better plan how to respond to need.
“You can make a gift online through our website. The ongoing, reoccurring donations are so helpful,” said Ness. “We are cognizant that this is a long-term situation. This is not going to be a short-term experience.”
You can learn more about PRISM on its website.
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