by Joni Astrup
The second Tuesday of every month, food is available at Ruby’s Pantry in Elk River.
Everyone who gets hungry qualifies. The cost is a $15 cash donation, according to Cassie Korin. She is the coordinator for the Ruby’s Pantry Elk River location and general manager of the Samaritan Way Thrift Store at 19463 Evans St., where the food distribution is held.
“They get an abundance of food, but it will vary from month to month,” said Lyn Sahr, executive director of Ruby’s Pantry. Sometimes it’s less and sometimes it’s more. People typically get a meat item, potatoes, dairy products, bread, some produce, other nutritional items and on occasion some comfort food or snack items, he said.
A long line of people formed outside the store in Elk River for the June event.
Amy Krambeer, of Zimmerman, said she found out about Ruby’s Pantry from her mom. She goes every month.
“I love it,” she said. “There’s a lot of healthy stuff and a lot of new things to try.”
Brenda Lund, of Monticello, found out about it from her cousin. She said the program is really good.
The events are staffed primarily by volunteers.
Brandon Harvell, 16, of Elk River, was one of the volunteers working at the June event. His mom told him about it and he said he volunteers because “it’s helpful.”
Ruby’s Pantry is a community outreach of Home and Away Ministries, a nonprofit corporation.
Ruby’s Pantry was founded a decade ago by Sahr, who is a pastor. The inspiration came from his mother, Ruby Flodin.
The organization has grown rapidly over the last decade.
In 2012 30 employees and thousands of volunteers distributed more than nine million pounds of food primarily in rural communities in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. More than 10,000 families participate each month at 38 distribution sites.
Ruby’s Pantry has been operating in Elk River for three years. About 150 to 200 families get food at the monthly events, Sahr said.
Next distribution is July 9 in Elk River
The next Ruby’s Pantry food distribution in Elk River is 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, at Samaritan Way Thrift Store. Registration starts at 3:30 p.m. People are asked to bring two boxes to go through the line. For more information, call 320-629-7400 or go to www.rubyspantry.org.