Two well-established and respected nonprofits, the Steele County Clothesline and the Steele County
Food Shelf, are joining forces and will be merging to form one new organization, Community Pathways
of Steele County, effective January 1 st , 2020. The merger is validation of the teamwork and collaborative
efforts that have been taking place between the Steele County Clothesline and the Steele County Food
Shelf over the last few years to better serve individuals, families, and the community. Only after much
research of similar organizations, conversations with corporate partners, and evaluating the impact a
merger would bring, the two boards voted unanimously to move forward with the merger.
Community Pathways will continue to be at the current location at 155 Oakdale in Owatonna. Our
programs and services will not change through the transition period, but there is great anticipation of
new and improved services that can be provided through strategic planning, improved use of resources
and creative thinking. No programs will diminish through this process. In fact, the hope is to improve on
services to their families. The merger will allow Community Pathways to restructure staff putting
individual skill sets to better use. They will no longer be duplicating the work being done by two
separate organizations, but will work together to create improved services for their families, and a more
efficient and effective organization to better serve the needs of the community.
Along with the organizations’ restructure and name change the program names will also be changing.
The Steele County Food Shelf will become The Marketplace and the Steele County Clothesline will be
known as Unique Finds. The Marketplace will continue to serve anyone who qualifies for the program.
Unique Finds is open to anyone who qualifies as well as anyone interested in shopping regardless of life
circumstances - or income. By shopping at Unique Finds you are supporting Community Pathways.
The community has done an incredible job of recognizing basic needs and supporting both organizations
over the years. The Steele County Clothesline was originally started by the Women’s Club of Owatonna
in 1963 to serve the children of the State School. The Steele County Food Shelf found their roots in 1970
when several churches in Steele County decided to start food closets to serve the needs of their
members. As the organizations and the needs grew in the county, both organizations moved to the
current location in 1999 where people could access resources and there was adequate physical space to
accommodate the growing needs. We hope the community will once again recognize the ever growing
and changing public need and support the organizations as we merge to provide improved services,
efficiencies, access, sustainability, and additional programming.
Our vision is to promote a stronger and healthier community by being a trusted resource for food, clothing, and other support.
Our mission is to assist individuals and families meet their basic needs by providing resources in a healthy and caring environment. Through these actions we build hope and support self-sufficiency.