Businesses shuttered. Job hours cut. Schools closed. The business of everyday life in Maryland—and the country—ground to a halt in mid-March 2020. Food pantries, soup kitchens, and other organizations relied on Maryland Food Bank to supply them with food to distribute to their community. The impact of pandemic closures and safety measures upended every aspect of MFB’s operations.
But kids who relied on school lunch still needed to eat. Homebound seniors needed food delivered. People missing paychecks found themselves in need of food assistance for the first time. The need was still there—and was about to increase dramatically.
MFB had to prepare for a surge in demand—for food, for help, for basic needs to sustain their neighbors.
While the situation shifted rapidly in the early days of the pandemic, MFB had to continuously adapt. Key to being able to pivot quickly was having the necessary funds to keep food distribution safely operational.
The direct mail copy laid out the number of ways MFB had already activated to respond to the increased need: buying as much food as possible; preparing and distributing Grab & Go meals for students; providing Backup Boxes with nonperishable staples to feed people when regular food distribution is not an option; and managing the influx of first-time clients.
But the copy also appealed to MFB’s donors’ less tactical natures—urging them to “come together as one Maryland family” and to “help their hungry neighbors.” The localized and personalized outreach spoke to donors who want to make a direct impact in their communities.
Finally, while this campaign was rushed into the mail in less than two weeks, a special URL printed on the direct mail reply device urged donors to put their gift to work faster by donating online.
Marylanders responded to this urgent situation quickly and generously:
MFB’s timely response, concrete case for support, and emotional appeal to the community combined to bring in critical funds and serve as a lifeline for food-insecure people in the state. MFB’s work continues as the need remains in Maryland. Knowing it can rely on its neighbors to help each other in times of struggle motivates the organization to keep going!