All are welcome to enjoy a hayride this Sunday while supporting local families in need.
The fourth annual Hayride 4 Food Drive will be held Oct. 13 at Bloomgren Farms, 2675 337th Ave., north of Cub Foods in Cambridge. 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 1-5 p.m., while the petting zoo and face painting will be from 1-4 p.m. Hot apple cider, cookies and bars will also be served.
All the events are free; however, nonperishable food items and cash donations will be accepted. All proceeds will benefit the Family Pathways Cambridge Food Shelf.
“We have been growing at about 100 families a year since I started at the Cambridge Food Shelf four years ago, and we aren’t seeing any sign of things slowing down,” said Jason Southworth, coordinator of the Family Pathways Cambridge Food Shelf. “Our annual hayride event is a chance for families to come out and have a day of fun. The only cost to them is a food shelf item or a monetary donation if they so incline.”
Southworth said 1,111 pounds of food and $800 in cash donations were collected at last year’s event.
“Our goal with this year’s event is to double last year’s numbers because we really need it,” Southworth said. “We really need people to come out and support our event. We have plenty of parking and plenty of volunteers to direct you to where you need to go. We have volunteers to help people with disabilities get on and off the hay racks. When I see the smiles on the children’s faces every year at this event, it really makes everything worth while. We are looking forward to a great day.”
Southworth gives much credit to Danny Schnabel, who again lined up the tractors and hay racks to be used for the event, and local businesses for their support. Caribou Coffee is donating the coffee, while Cub Foods is donating the apple cider.
“Our economy is not very good yet, and the people of Isanti County are hurting,” Schnabel said. “Our numbers are up at all our local food shelves. We really need everyone to come out and support this event. A lot of people need the food shelves, and we have to keep this event going.”
Schnabel, who organized the first event in 2010 and hosted it near his home in Cambridge, is glad he’s able to give back to the community, but noted he couldn’t do it without the help of others.
“I’m glad to be part of this event, and I’m also thankful for the help I’ve gotten from my family, friends and neighbors to keep this going and successful,” Schnabel said. “Helping with this has also made our kids feel good about themselves, as they have been making posters and promoting the event as well. The kids are glad to help with this as well.”
Southworth said the Cambridge Food Pantry is currently serving 1,528 individuals; 517 are children, 879 are ages 18-64 and 132 are seniors. Southworth said 59,000 pounds of food were distributed to families this past month.
“If every family that comes to the hayride was able to give $5, we would make quite an impact,” Southworth said. “For every $1 someone gives, it allows us to buy $7 worth of food through Second Harvest Heartland. It seems everyone that comes tries to give as much as they can, and we really appreciate that.”
Southworth said, this Thanksgiving, the food shelf is once again partnering with the Salvation Army to provide 500 Thanksgiving meals to local families in need. If interested in helping with that cause by providing a financial donation, contact the Cambridge Food Shelf
Southworth said items the food pantry can always use include canned meat, such as tuna and chicken, complete meals such as spaghetti and sauce and instant pastas from a can or a box, and canned fruit.
The Cambridge Food Shelf is located at 1575 First 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.