Ruby’s Pantry comes to SuperiorSpuds were just the beginning. Hot on the heels of Wednesday’s great potato giveaway, a new Ruby’s Pantry site is set to open Monday at Zion Lutheran Church in Superior. Ruby’s Pantry offers shares of food for $15 each regardless of income or residency.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Spuds were just the beginning. Hot on the heels of Wednesday’s great potato giveaway, a new Ruby’s Pantry site is set to open Monday at Zion Lutheran Church in Superior. Ruby’s Pantry offers shares of food for $15 each regardless of income or residency.
“You usually walk away with a couple laundry baskets full of food,” said Patrick Ziems, pastor at Zion, so people are encouraged to bring boxes, baskets and bags to carry the items home in. Each share contains a wide variety of items.
“It’s fun, you never know what’s going to show up,” Ziems said. In June, shares included a box of dill … the herb, not the pickles. Past distributions have included ice cream, pizza crusts, whipped cream, frozen chicken and plenty of potatoes, both chips and fresh. But that’s just one part of the equation.
“I think this whole thing is just incredible,” Ziems said. Ruby’s Pantry provides quality food to people who need it. It also fills the need to give.
“Things are happening when people help other people,” Ziems said. And Ruby’s is an “incredible outlet for people who want to volunteer. If you’re looking for something your family can be involved in to volunteer, this is it.”
Ziems helped out Wednesday when Ruby’s Pantry distributed 44,000 pounds of free potatoes at Christ Lutheran Church in Superior. About 900 people received spuds. One person picked up their potatoes, than thanked Ziems. He told them “You’re worth it.”
“The look on their face was priceless,” the pastor said.
Another plus for the Ruby’s Pantry program is it puts surplus food back in circulation instead of planting it in a landfill. And $3 from each share goes back to the host site. The money can be used to purchase pallet jacks, plastic gloves and bags. Once supplies have been purchased, it can be used in other ways.
“Each distribution site then becomes a benevolent organization,” Ziems said. “They start giving that money away.
Ruby’s Pantry is an outreach program of the non-profit Home and Away Ministries Inc. or Pine City, Minn. It supplies food to 37 communities throughout northern Wisconsin and Minnesota — from Siren, Spooner and Luck to Cloquet, Grand Rapids and Moose Lake. Zion Lutheran will be the 38th site. Another Superior site is set to open in October at Christ Lutheran Church, 320 N. 28th St. Distribution from Christ Lutheran will be on the third Thursday of each month.
“Its growth is just phenomenal,” Ziems said.
The churches are just the distribution sites, he said. There are many churches involved in starting the Ruby’s Pantry sites, as well as volunteers from across the board.
“There are many individuals who want to make sure people have food,” Ziems said. “It’s people helping people.”
Volunteers will begin setting up at the church at 2:30 p.m. Monday. The doors open for registration at 4:30 p.m. with distribution beginning at 5 p.m. Between 300 and 500 shares are expected to be distributed. The distributions will take place on the second Monday of each month. To volunteer for the program, call or stop by the church for an application.
For information, go to www.homeandawayministries.org and click on Ruby’s Pantry.