‘Bail or Jail’ sting benefits food shelves

Persons guilty of compassion were jailed, then released after giving their bail money to Family Pathways at the Bail or Jail event held at Famous Dave’s on Nov. 1.

The fun event is the culmination of a fund-raiser in which participants ask their friends, family and co-workers to donate.

Last year $33,000 was raised for the four Family Pathways food shelves in Forest Lake, Lindstrom, North Branch and Cambridge. Each “suspect” can choose which food shelf should receive the money; undesignated contributions are divided equally among the four.

A similar event was held in North Branch on Oct. 25.

“In hopes that you are guilty of compassion for our neighbors who have fallen on hard times, we are sending you the 2012 Bail or Jail fund-raising packet,” the letter of invitation reads.

“We have the seen the face of hunger change: Average families who never dreamed they would need assistance are requesting help.” The letter says 38 percent are children.

About 20 area residents showed up at the Forest Lake event, put on a prison uniform, got photographed in a cell, and stayed for a meal provided by Famous Dave’s.

Repeat offenders were featured on a wanted poster.

The clerk was Kathy Wills of Family Pathways, and former Forest Lake mayor Stev Stegner served as the judge.

Local businesses donated prizes to the top bail raisers.

Kathy Wills, Stev Stegner, Jill Bigley and Dennis Hegberg at the Bail or Jail table.