Together, we can make a difference

Times are tough for a lot of people, and it’s going to take a while before things improve.

A study released Feb. 9 by the Minnesota Home Ownership Center shows Isanti County currently has the second highest foreclosure rate in the state of Minnesota.

Isanti County had a foreclosure rate of 2.56 percent, second to Sherburne County with a foreclosure rate of 2.93 percent. The foreclosure rate is the number of foreclosed mortgages as a percent of total residential parcels. The study is a report based on sheriff’s sale data.

In 2010, Isanti County had 349 foreclosures. Neighboring Chisago County had 423; Kanabec, 153; Pine, 224; and Mille Lacs, 226. All of these counties are also in the top 10 as far as highest foreclosure rates in the state.

In light of these statistics, we have a chance to make a difference through Minnesota FoodShare Month.

Each March, Minnesota FoodShare directs the March Campaign; the largest food drive in the state and restocks 300 food shelves across Minnesota. During March, Minnesota corporations and individuals will match a percentage of the food and dollars food pantries receive. A foundation called the Feinstein Foundation also matches a percentage of what food pantries receive during March.

Locally, Jason Southworth at Cambridge Family Pathways Food Pantry; John Hirsch from John Hirsch’s Cambridge Motors and Pastor Bill Berg from New Hope Community Church, organized a Community Food Drive to help restock the shelves at the Cambridge Family Pathways Food Pantry. This week, they are asking area businesses and other organizations to do a food collection site, and at the end of the week, all you need to do is call Sue Slater at John Hirsch’s (763-689-7600), who will arrange to have the food picked up.

The Family Pathways Food Pantry in Cambridge distributed 386,343 pounds of food in 2010, and was able to serve 3,821 families which consisted of 11,170 individuals. The food pantry gives an average of 35 pounds of food to each individual that comes to the food pantry.

Also, don’t forget about the other area food pantries and distribution sites. A listing provided to me last week by a local organization shows there are seven other food pantries and distribution sites in Isanti County, besides the Family Pathways site.

The Braham Food Shelf; Isanti County Food Pantry; Spirit River Community Matthew 25 Ministry; Cambridge Food Distribution; Ruby’s Pantry; Fare for All Distribution; and Angel Food Ministries also need food donations and/or are distribution sites for residents of Isanti County. Each organization has different needs and regulations, so contact each one individually if you need more information. And I’m sure there are more local sites that this newspaper isn’t even aware of.

March is a great time to get involved, and a chance to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Consider making a donation to the food pantry of your choice this month. Even one can of food can provide a meal to someone in need.

Rachel Kytonen is Editor of the Isanti County News