By Rachel Kytonen
Tough economic times continue for many members of our community, and as a community, there is a chance for you to make a difference.
Family Pathways will be hosting its 2nd annual Free Hayride for Food on Sunday, Oct. 16. The family-friendly event is free, but guests are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to support the Cambridge Food Pantry.
The event will be located at the Bloomgren Farm, just north of Cub Foods in Cambridge. There will be directional signs posted the day of the event.
The hayrides will run from 1 to 5 p.m.; and a petting zoo and face painting will be offered from 1 to 4 p.m. Jim Donahue will provide live music from 2 to 3 p.m. There will also be free cookies, bars, and hot apple cider for visitors to enjoy.
“We need donations throughout the entire year, but this event is really our final push to get us through until the end of the year,” said Cambridge Food Pantry Coordinator Jason Southworth. “Every year our need grows, and our numbers just keep going up.”
In September the food pantry served 415 families, consisting of 1,219 individuals, and distributed 39,868 pounds of food. Southworth said the food pantry averages between 50 and 55 new families each month.
“With the hard times families are facing, we get new families in every month,” Southworth said. “After Lowe’s closed in the community, we had some of those employees in here asking for help. Hard times keep hitting this town.”
Southworth gave much appreciation again this year to Danny Schnabel, who helped arrange the event last year. Schnabel again lined up five tractors and hay racks to be used for the event, and coordinated all the volunteer drivers.
Southworth mentioned he personally paid for the outhouse for the event, and the fuel for the tractors was also donated.
“We are all doing our part to make this a free, fun event for families,” Southworth said. “Now we are asking the community to do their part and come attend the event, and bring along some non-perishable food items for the food pantry.”
This year to date, the Cambridge Food Pantry has served 3,546 families, consisting of 10,182 individuals and distributed 340,213 pounds of food.
“Every month our need keeps rising, and we need community help,” Southworth said. “Community help is needed to help meet the needs of our community members.”
The Cambridge Food Pantry is located at 1575 1st Ave. E. (rear entrance of building). Hours are Monday and Tuesday, noon to 7 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 7 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and serves all residents of Isanti County. For more information call 763-552-3663.