Here in Minneapolis, there is nothing quite like a great show. But, when those local acts team up with an equally great cause, things tend to be doubly exciting. Hometown heroes The Young Professionals and nationally recognized nonprofit organization, Feed My Starving Children joined forces for a weekend of goodwill, and a benefit concert to not only continue to feed those in need, but also raise awareness.
On March 5 and 6, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., was host to more than 1,200 volunteers from local churches and businesses extending a helping hand to the local organization that actively helps those in need of sustenance, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). Banding together, those helping prepared 250,000 life-saving meals comprised of rice, soy, dried vegetables, and a chicken-flavored powder with essential vitamins and minerals, which will be delivered to residents in Tajikistan.
“It was a planned public attraction,” said Holly Donato, National Marketing Director for FMSC. “The entertainment stage in the rotunda was a way to attract and engage shoppers in between the volunteer packer orientation sessions. Without the music and multi-media, the rotunda would have been empty and quiet in between orientations, and that space—along with the opportunity to engage with shoppers—would have been wasted. Having music on the stage also helped attract people to the booths of our food distribution partners (such as Risen Savior Missions), which were stationed around the orientation area. The entertainment also helped attract shoppers to our FMSC MarketPlace booth—a temporary kiosk set up during the MobilePack, where shoppers could buy international goods made in communities around the world where we distribute food.”
Of the six different artists that performed throughout the weekend, The Young Professionals (TYP) took full advantage of quite possibly one of the largest local stages, the Best Buy Rotunda.
“We’ve played shows for charity before [and] Feed My Starving Children is a great group with a greater purpose,” said TYP drummer Jordan Hanson. “Plus, you can’t pass up a chance to play at the biggest mall in America.”
And, being North America’s second largest mall, it was no shock there were a lot of onlookers. The four-story, 360-degree rotunda was packed with shoppers and visitors alike peering down to watch the bands below. Taking the attention of the thousands of people who made their way around the performance area gave FMSC and TYP a chance to voice their cause.
“It allowed our staff to circulate among bystanders,” Donato said of the music. [We] stopped [them] in their tracks around the Best Buy Rotunda balconies and handed out informational material about FMSC.”
“It was a good opportunity to play for people who hadn’t heard our music before,” said Thompson Aderinkomi, bassist for TYP. “We had people coming up and asking for cds and pictures afterward.”
Greater visibility for both parties is always a win-win situation, especially when one is an organization that helps so many thousands in need. And, a busy March weekend at the Mall of America also opened the eyes of patrons who may not have heard of FMSC.
“First of all, the goal was to feed hungry children,” Donato said. “It was also intended to feed more children by building a new following for FMSC in a public venue.”
Rated by Charity Navigator as one of the nation’s fastest-growing charities, FMSC, in conjunction with several Minneapolis-based musicians, pulled off a complex yet educational and informational feat that can only get stronger. And, with such a great turnout, the event was deemed successful.
“Giving up a little time to share our music and to benefit a good cause like Feed My Starving Children is something we were happy to do,” lead singer Jason Waggoner said. “We look forward to being asked back.”
Feed My Starving Children is a nonprofit, Chrisitan hunger relief charity that distributes nutritionally complete meals in nearly 70 countries. For more information or to donate, visit www.fmsc.org.
For more information about The Young Professionals and their music, visit www.theyoungprofessionalsmusic.com.
*A special recognition needs to be credited to the sponsors, a coalition of Bloomington, Minn., churches and businesses under the name Btown Beyond Our Borders; the main event organizer, Zachary Taylor, for understanding that multimedia and musical programming would be key to the success of the event; and the volunteers and musicians who made this event a reality.*