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Ruby’s Pop-up Pantry: Grocery Help on the North Shore

Sometimes it just takes a little help to make ends meet with groceries. Ruby’s Pantry, a “pop-up pantry”, provides an abundance of groceries, $125-$175 worth, for a small sum – $25. Ruby’s Pantry was founded in 2003 by Lyn Sahr, who named the nonprofit after his grandmother, Ruby Flodin, a woman who “looked for every opportunity to share food from her pantry with others.” One Christmas, Ruby Flodin’s neighbors, a family with four children, had no financial resources or food. Flodin gathered food from her own home and “brought them a Christmas dinner fit for a king.”

Ruby’s Pop-up Pantry has been a tradi­tion in Silver Bay for close to a decade, and is held on the third Saturday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to noon. A semi-truck full of food comes to the Mary MacDonald Center, and a distribution area is set up in the gym. The $25 donation covers the cost of the truck and driver, and also goes to an account over­seen by the Bay Area Vineyard, to be distrib­uted to area families that might need a little extra help. Recently, a family new to the area was helped by this fund by being able to pur­chase household items and by being given a gas card.

The June 17th food supply included chick­en, frozen potatoes, cupcakes, milk, bread, cheese, sour cream, salad kits, salad dressing, tortillas, olive paste, seasonings, rice, mus­tard, breakfast bars and cake mix.

Volunteers hailing from nine different area churches, school students, social services, and other community organizations work to­gether to organize and distribute the food at Ruby’s. On June 17th, there were a number of youth coming in during their summer break to volunteer as well.

People are encouraged to bring two boxes or totes to transport the food received. If it is your first Ruby’s Pantry, you are request­ed to register and sign in. The registration is simple and requires no documentation. After your first time, you simply need to sign in. You will be given a number, and once your number is called you are free to go through the line to receive your food share. On June 17th, 144 shares were given out.

The mission of Ruby’s Pantry is “to acti­vate people in being alert to the needs of oth­ers and to be proactive in encouraging faith, showing friendship, and meeting tangible needs of neighbors, friends, and strangers re­gardless of race, religion, or ethnicity.”

There is no income or residency require­ment to use Ruby’s Pantry. It is for anyone looking to extend their monthly grocery bud­get.

Grand Marais also has a Ruby’s Pantry, held on the second Tuesday of each month from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m, at the Cook County Community Center.

Learn more about Ruby’s Pantry and find a location near you at https://rubyspantry.org/home . Share descriptions can often be found in advance at https://www.facebook.com/people/Rubys-Pantry-Silver- Bay/100069307595396/  for Silver Bay and https://www.facebook.com/RubysPantryCC/ for Grand Marais. The next Silver Bay Ruby’s Pop-up Pantry will be held July 15 (July 11 in Grand Marais). Be sure to arrive early as shares can go quickly.

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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