Community Partners: PRISM

PRISM (People Responding In Social Ministry) is a social service agency that helps local families during times of financial hardship. For over 43 years, the volunteers and staff at PRISM have worked with individuals and families in Plymouth, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and New Hope; counseling, educating and stabilizing basic needs to empower them to take an active role in their own solutions. The organization known today as PRISM began as a food shelf in a garage at St. Joseph’s Parish Community in New Hope. According to Marty Gates, one of the founders, from the very beginning, filling stomachs was never the ultimate goal. The volunteers at the Social Action Center (as it was then called) were assigned as mentors to families, working with them on an ongoing basis until they were back on their feet. Even before PRISM was PRISM, the organization walked alongside families, offering support-based programs that encouraged self-sufficiency, PRISM’s mission to this day.

The best way to express the Gospel is to put it in action...When someone comes to you needing food, you can either give them the food and they can walk out the door, or you can sit down and listen to them talk about their life.

- Marty Gates

Today there are 19 Faith Partner churches, including Mount Olivet, working with PRISM to serve those in need, making our communities better!

In addition to the food shelf:

  • PRISM has two full-time case workers and brings on social work students as interns to build capacity. It is not uncommon for them to see 200 households per week! Last Monday (9/29) there were 72 families through the door. According to PRISM Executive Director Michelle Ness, the numbers are increasing - PRISM is serving about 30 more families each week than last year at this time.
  • PRISM’s Thrift Shop for Change generates $1500-2000 per week. One of the main priorities currently is to increase shoppers through the door in order to grow the revenue from the shop. In the current economic climate, this is hugely important to PRISM. BOGO coupons are available in the Welcome Center and all are encouraged to like the shop on Facebook!
  • Families who live in PRISM’s five city service area can access the Birthday Room. For $5 they receive three brand new gifts, paper products (gift wrap, bows, streamers, invitations, etc.), and a free, fully-decorated birthday cake. Families report that without this resource, many would not be able to celebrate their child’s birthday at all.