Hop on a hayride this weekend and help the Cambridge Food Pantry.
The third annual Hayride 4 Food Drive will be held this Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Bloomgren Farm, located just north of Cub Foods in Cambridge (2675 337th Ave.). The event will be held in the same location as last year, and directional signs will be posted the day of the event.
The hayride will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., while the petting zoo and face painting will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Jim Donahue will provide musical entertainment. There will also be hot apple cider, cookies and bars served.
All the events are free; however, a nonperishable food item or cash donation is appreciated with proceeds benefitting the Cambridge Food Pantry.
“We are growing at about 100 families a year and we aren’t seeing any decline,” said Jason Southworth, coordinator of the Family Pathways
Cambridge Food Pantry. “Our annual hayride event is a chance for families to forget about their problems for a day and have some fun.”
Southworth said 1,010 pounds of food were collected at last year’s event, as well as $480 in cash donations.
“Our goal with this year’s event is to double last year’s numbers because we really need it,” Southworth said. “Our need has been very consistent, and it’s not going away any time soon. We are hoping for a good turnout, nice weather and a lot of fun.”
Southworth said the Cambridge Food Pantry is currently serving 540 families, consisting of 1,403 individuals. Out of the 1,403 individuals served, 519 are children, 765 are ages 18-64 and 119 are seniors. Southworth said 54,000 pounds of food were distributed to families this past month.
When looking at food donations, Southworth said the food pantry is focusing on holiday meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“We still have lot of people without jobs and unemployment issues,” Southworth said. “Some people who do have jobs are getting paid such low wages they still can’t make ends meet. We have adults in their 40s and 50s going to back to college. We also have a lot of single moms. I’m seeing all types of hardships from people coming in, and they really need the community’s help.”
Southworth said items the food pantry can always use include canned meat, peanut butter, complete meals such as spaghetti and sauce and instant pastas from a can or a box.
“We really would appreciate any donations, but complete meals for families really helps as well,” Southworth said. “The fact that the number of children we are serving is catching up to adults really concerns me. No matter what actions the adults have taken, the children shouldn’t have to suffer as a result.”
Southworth gives much credit to Danny Schnabel, who again lined up the tractors and hay racks to be used for the event.
Southworth said the goal is again to fill the UPS flame truck with a lot of food, as well as collect monetary donations.
“If every family that comes was able to give $5, we would make quite an impact,” Southworth said. “For every $1 someone gives, it allows us to buy $5 worth of food through Second Harvest Heartland. It seems that everyone that comes tries to give as much as they can, and we really appreciate that.”
The Cambridge Food Pantry is located at 1575 1st Ave. E. (rear entrance of building), and can be reached at 763-552-3663. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.