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SeniorSell Salutes, “Ruby’s Pantry” Cohasset MN

Posted: Friday, July 15, 2011 5:00 pm | Updated: 1:25 pm, Fri Jul 15, 2011.

By Lisa Rosemore Grand Rapids Herald-Review | 0 comments

Who wouldn’t want $100 to $150 worth of food for a $15 donation?

Starting on Tuesday, July 19, area residents can do just that as Ruby’s Pantry will hold its first once-a-month distribution at the Cohasset Community Center. Shares will be available starting at 1:30 p.m. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. with distribution to begin at 4 p.m. The program is scheduled for the third Tuesday of each month.

“This program is unbelievable, and will serve so many people in the area,” said Pam Dowell of Cohasset, who was instrumental in bringing Ruby’s Pantry to the area.

The program is an outreach ministry of Home and Away Ministries based out of Pine City, Minn., with approximately 26 distribution locations in many parts of Northern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin. How it works is simple: People purchase a food share for a $15 donation and in exchange, receive food. There are no income guidelines, no religious requirements. Those who cannot pay will not be turned away, according information from Ruby’s Pantry.

According to Ruby Pantry’s mission statement, the program’s purpose is “to procure and distribute corporate surplus food and goods to help fight poverty, hunger and disease in rural communities for those with low resources and in crises through churches, food shelves and other local civic organizations. To develop the ‘Blessing Box’ concept to activate people in being alert to the needs of others and to be proactive in encouraging, showing friendship and meeting tangible needs of struggling neighbors, friends and strangers, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.”

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church of Cohasset is the host church for Ruby’s Pantry. Mary Raley, the area coordinator, is very excited about the first distribution.

They don’t know how many to expect, Raley said. She said the hope is for the community to become like one big neighborhood. People receive “such a quantity” of food that it’s more than enough to share.

It will get neighbors talking to neighbors, she said, adding that people can share the food with their neighbors.

“The idea is everybody eats,” Raley said.

Ruby’s Pantry does not sell food. Of each $15 share, $3 stays in the community. Raley said a committee of six to eight people from Our Redeemer will administer the fund for “benevolence.” She said if someone knows of someone in need, such as someone traveling for medical treatment and in need of gas funds, the church should be contacted. Cash is not given, but in the example she gave, that person would receive gas cards.

“There are so many needs,” she said, adding that volunteers are also welcome.

Any food which is not distributed on distribution day will be boxed for Blessing Boxes and also donated to GRACE House.

For further information on Ruby’s Pantry, visit their website at www.rubyspantry.org or contact them at (320) 629-7400. Those attending Tuesday’s distribution are also asked to mind the parking signs as the community center also houses the Cohasset city offices. People should not park in the Cohasset Fire Department lot.

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