Family Pathways ‘Bail or Jail’ raises $26,427 and counting

Community rallies to support local food shelves

This year’s Family Pathways Bail or Jail fundraisers in North Branch and Forest Lake generated $26,427 for the nonprofit’s local food shelves, thanks to the generosity of local businesses, participants and volunteers.

Pending pledges are still pouring in, too. The anticipated total, $28,800, will have a positive impact for members of the community struggling with food scarcity.

More than 40 local residents volunteered to act as “Suspects of Crimes of Compassion” by collecting donations to serve as their “bail” at these mock court hearings.

Hank Houle, a repeat offender, is currently at the top of the leaderboard after raising $2,000 in donations.

First-time participant Rick Carlson raised a respectable $1,035, and Greg Shaleen is close on his heels with $1,040.

Jim Jorgenson and Steve Stegner acted as volunteer “judges,” and “jail grub” was donated by Gloria Bergstrom of The Oak Inn and Joe Ross of Famous Dave’s.

Supplemental monetary support was provided by the following sponsors: Bolton & Menk, Casterton Title & Closing Company, Central Bank, County Market, Dolphy Automotive, East Central Sanitation, Ecumen Parmly LifePointes, Hallberg Marine, Pine Eye Associates, Plastic Products Co., State Farm Insurance, Stearns Bank, TCF Bank, The Washington County and The Chisago County Chapters of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, US Bank, Walmart and Xcel Energy.

Family Pathways’ service area was especially hard hit during the recession, and even though there are signs of a slight recovery, statistics demonstrate that the organization’s free programs are critical.

Hank Houle, top bail raiser. Photos supplied
Hank Houle, top bail raiser.
Photos supplied

During the first nine months in 2013, Family Pathways food shelves have served a combined monthly average of 2,069 families, which amounts to a 12 percent increase in family visits during the same time period in 2012. In the first nine months of 2013, their locations have distributed a combined average of 183,247 pounds of food per month, which represents a 30 percent increase over the same time period in 2012.

Fundraisers like “Bail or Jail” allow Family Pathways to continue serving the ever increasing number of local families who are struggling to make ends meet. The nonprofit operates food shelves in Forest Lake, Lindstrom, North Branch, Cambridge, Hinckley, Sandstone and Onamia as well as a food partnership in Mora.

Family Pathways also has food shelves in Frederic and St. Croix Falls in Wisconsin. Thanks to strong community support, no one is turned away when they come to a Family Pathways food shelf.

To learn more about the organization’s food shelves, youth services and senior services, visit For more regarding “Bail or Jail,” contact Adrianne Prettyman ([email protected]) or Lynn Kirk ([email protected]) at Family Pathways (763-552-7284).

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