“Well now, are you looking for something to do on Tuesday August 10th from 4pm to 7pm? Are you willing to have fun? Can you bring your whole family? Can you bring your whole neighborhood? Can you …
“Well now, are you looking for something to do on Tuesday August 10th from 4pm to 7pm? Are you willing to have fun? Can you bring your whole family? Can you bring your whole neighborhood? Can you spare some time to pack 250 back packs for homeless youth? Can you sign up online?”
Happening now, the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce is posing these questions to their members and local residents. This is because they are hosting “Family Fun Night @ Furber Farm” next Tuesday.
The event will consist of dinner, sweets, forms of entertainment and free gifts. Donated hot dogs from HyVee will be grilled to perfection and served to guests by the Cottage Grove Lions Club. For dessert, one can score frozen treats from two distinct vendors. Culver’s and Mik Mart will be dishing out ice cream and custard. Before, during, or after one satisfies their hunger, they can view magic acts, listen to a live DJ, get soaked in a dunk tank, hop on-board of a hot air balloon, go shopping, and engage with a balloon artist. The first 250 families who enter these festivities will secure a gift bag. Inside, they will discover “fun items” from local businesses.
Family Fun Night @ Furber Farm will also be comprised of one good deed. In a press release completed on July 15, the Chamber wrote, “Attendees will be invited to create a backpack of items in our event assembly line. The event goal is to fill 250 backpacks to give back to area homeless youth.”
Hattie Hiler is the Reporting Analyst at Minnesota Housing. She presented sources to The Journal that touched on the prevalence of homelessness. First, Voices of Youth Count estimated that 700,000 American youth aged 13-17 experienced some form of homelessness in a 12-month period. That means that 1 out of 30 teenagers were either couch hopping or explicitly homeless. The same study displayed that within the demographic of 18-25-year-old Americans, 3.5 million endured an instance of homelessness in a 12-month period. Voices of Youth Count completed this report in 2017.
In a more local context, the Homeless Management Information System Minnesota recognized that during 2019, roughly 1 in 262 Minnesotans experienced homelessness. Minnesotans of color and their White counterparts were disproportionately impacted by the issue. “About 1 in 67 Minnesotans of color experienced homelessness, compared with 1 in 641 White Minnesotans,” wrote HMISMN.
According to HMISMN, Minnesota’s youth aged 1824 were victims of homelessness in 2019, as well. 2,429 is the amount of them who were sheltered in a temporary facility that year.
The Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce noted that 9% of regional dwellers aged 17-24 will endure a period of homelessness at some point. In most cases, it is because they became short on resources after escaping poor home lives or exiting foster care. “The Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes that homelessness exists in our community, and that those experiencing homelessness deserve access to services to assist them in becoming stable,” the Chamber recorded in a press release.
This reasoning led to the organization of Family Fun Night @ Furber Farm.
The evening will be a “community effort.” Thrivent-The Myers is a major sponsor that has made the event possible. Multiple local companies, such as Mik Mart Ice Cream, have aided it as well. The family business has been serving the Twin Cities Area since 2009. They sell frozen treats in their St. Paul Park shoppe and in their trucks that navigate the Cottage Grove region daily. Kristi Bushinski is a primary operator of Mik Mart Ice Cream. She expressed that her company was “interested” to pitch in at Family Fun Night: “When we heard about this opportunity to be involved in a local charitable effort, we were interested in giving back to the community that has supported us so much over the 13 years we have been in business. We look forward to a fun filled family night!”
Mik Mart Ice Cream will be rolling up to Historic Furber Farm on the evening of August 10 as a silver sponsor.
To partake in Family Fun Night alongside Mik Mart Ice Cream, one may take the following steps: 1) Purchase tickets at cottagegrovechamber.org. The cost for one individual to attend and eat is $7. A family of four can pay $25 for the same privileges. All of the proceeds from the ticket sales will fund Basic Needs Thrift Shop, Youth Service Bureau and Friends in Need Food Shelf. When buying tickets, customers will have the option to submit a Family Fun Ticket Donation. Those contributions will enable somebody less fortunate than themselves to participate in the evening.
2) Buy what Basic Needs Thrift Shop, Youth Service Bureau and Friends in Need Food Shelf have identified as “items of greatest need” among youth impacted by homelessness: travel-sized hygiene products, feminine protection, gift cards for gas and food, toilet paper, small first-aid kits and cold care items.
3) Navigate to Historic Furber Farm (7310 Lamar Ave S, Cottage Grove, MN 55016) on Tuesday August 10, 2021. Visitors should carry their donations and tickets with them. The donations will be stuffed into backpacks during the assembly line portion of the event. The tickets will permit guests inside of Historic Furber Farm and access to a hot dog, chips, water and a treat.
If one has conflicting plans for the night of August 10, they may lend a helping hand to local youth. The Thrivent Community Room is open from 8am to 4pm every weekday. One can deliver the goods that they purchased to 8750 90th St. S. Cottage Grove, MN 55016 by August 9