‘Death by Chocolate’ mystery to benefit local homeless program

By Rachel Kytonen/Isanti County News—

Treat your date, friends or co-workers to a fun night out while benefiting an area homeless program.

New Pathways is hosting its second annual Mystery Dinner Theater and Silent Auction event Saturday, Feb. 22, at Spectacular Events Banquet Center in Isanti. A prime rib and oven roasted chicken buffet will be served, or a vegetarian option is also available. The doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner beginning at 6 p.m.

The ABC Theatre Company will perform an interactive play called “Death by Chocolate.” The play is set at a party being held at Thornbury Chocolates for two purposes: to launch a new line chocolates and to celebrate the 30th birthday of the business owner’s daughter.

“This is our second annual event, and we are so happy to once again be partnering with the ABC Theatre Company, who are donating their time and talents for us,” said Mary Westlund, program manager-family educator for New Pathways. “This will be a fun event for families, couples, girls night or co-workers. It’s an event where you can feel good about having a good time and supporting a valuable program.”

Tickets for the event are $40 each and available at the New Pathways office, 310 S. Ashland St., Cambridge, by calling 763-691-0121 or online at www.eventbrite.com by searching Isanti, Minn.

If you purchase a table of eight, you will receive a $20 discount and receive eight tickets for $300. The eight tickets have to be purchased together, and this discount is only available by ordering the tickets directly through New Pathways. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets by Feb. 18.

New Pathways Path to Home program serves local homeless families with children from the central Minnesota region. New Pathways provides the day shelter, along with comprehensive support services. In the evenings, New Pathways partners with area churches to provide the night shelter, including meals and hospitality.

“I have been at New Pathways for 10 years and I’ve seen the program grow tremendously and the need continue to grow,” Westlund said. “We are continually turning away families, and the need is double what we are currently able to serve. Our shelter is continually full.”

Westlund said a fun feature during the interactive play this year includes a chance to guess the suspect. She said between the third and fourth acts, those who correctly guess the “whodunit” will be entered into a drawing to win a dinner for six at Perkins in Cambridge.

Guests will also have a chance to bid on and win a diamond from Chilson Jewelers in Cambridge. There will around 20 to 30 silent auction items for guest to bid on, with items including a massage from Willowbridge Center in Cambridge, a dog gift basket from North Branch Veterinary Hospital, a day at the lake from First Baptist Church and more.

There will also be music and a disc jockey for dancing and musical entertainment.

Westlund explained New Pathways has 23 church partners and more than 600 volunteers. Since New Pathways opened in 2000, it has served 463 families, including 848 children. It has turned away 645 households due to being at capacity.

New Pathways serves an average of 36 families per year, and last year, 91 percent of families successfully completed the program and moved into permanent housing.

Westlund mentioned New Pathways is looking for a new host church to provide night shelter accommodations two weeks per year as part of its Path to Home program. If interested in participating in this, contact Westlund at 763-691-0121, ext. 5, or email her at [email protected]

For more information on New Pathways, visit www.newpathwaysmn.com or call 763-691-0121. Updates regarding the Mystery Dinner Theater and Silent Auction event can be found on New Pathways’ Facebook page.

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