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.