‘Tis the Season for Giving: TSP Helps Feed Sioux Falls for the Holidays

December 13, 2012


The holidays are a special time of year filled with family, friends and food. Gathering with loved ones to enjoy favorite holiday meals is now a luxury as the price of food is on the rise. For some, relying on the generosity of the Sioux Falls Food Pantry is the only option. Over the past three years, the number of people using the Pantry’s services has increased 65 percent with 20 percent of recipients coming in for the first time. While the need for food grows, so does the need for donations.

This year TSP decided to take action in the fight against hunger and brought their most effective weapon, design skills.

In November, the American Institute of Graphic Arts – South Dakota hosted their first annual “Can Art” food drive and encouraged local organizations to participate by creating sculptures out of canned goods for display at The Empire Mall.

“The need is so much greater now, especially with the economy downturn. It is just a great way to give back to the community, using creativity and art to do that” said Jill Smith, American Institute of Graphic Arts – South Dakota.

The bigger the sculpture, the bigger the impact on donation totals. TSP decided to go big. Generous support from a local Hy-Vee sponsor gave the team a head start with credit for $300 towards the purchase of food. Benevolent TSP Sioux Falls’ employees took care of the rest by pooling together funds to raise an additional $420 worth of donations.

Inspired by local surroundings, TSP’s team set out to design and sculpt “The Falls of the Big Sioux River.” The team used 500 blue soup cans to mimic falling water and 250 boxes of stuffing and Jello to symbolize the iconic quartzite rock.

The six local groups participating in “Can Art” raised 4,787 pounds of food for the Pantry through the donation of their sculpture medium.

“I think what we’re all really excited about is that we’re helping people in the community but we are being creative which, as designers we love to do. We also have that higher cause of being able to help others in our community,” Michelle Holter said.

With $100 in donations left to spare, TSP’s team wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.

After striking a deal with Hy-Vee, the team purchased a pallet of oatmeal that was then donated to the Sioux Falls Backpack Program. This program reaches out to disadvantaged kids around the area and fills backpacks with meals on Friday afternoons to ensure food is available over the weekend. In addition to the Sioux Falls Pantry sculpture effort, 3,600 packets of oatmeal were donated to the Backpack Program.

The donation of a meal can curb hunger but it can also spur change for both the giver and receiver. Change of outlook, change of purpose, change of community. Rejoice in life’s simple gifts this holiday season and relish the giving more than the receiving.