First Ruby's Pantry To Be Held In Roseau


September 9, 2023

by Laurel Latham

The first popup Ruby's Pantry in Roseau will be held on Thursday, September 14, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., outside the double garage doors on the south side of Roseau Electric Co-op. Ruby's Pantry is for anyone who eats! There are no income restrictions or residency requirements.

"Our first Ruby's Pantry truck will hold 400 food shares," reports Volunteer Coordinator, Carol Guy. "While we are learning with this first truck, the plan is to limit two food shares or bundles per vehicle. Each share will cost a $25 cash donation in exchange for an abundance of groceries. Most of the $25 will go to pay the truck driver, with $2.50 staying in our community for any expenses. Any leftover food shares will be donated to Four Seasons Senior Center, the Food Shelf, the Backpack Program or another organization in need."

"Lines are expected to be long," continued Carol. "Once cars are lined up further than the parking lot at REC, cars should begin to line up on the gravel in the direction of the Roseau water tower. We don't want cars lining up in the direction of Highway 11.

"Volunteers will bring a bundle or bundles to each car, until all 400 shares are gone," explained Carol. "We have over 100 volunteers signed up to help unload the truck, bag groceries, direct traffic or donate refreshments for the volunteers. I will notify the volunteers who are needed for each truck that arrives in Roseau."

Debbie Brynteson, a librarian at Williams Public Library, has been buying food shares at Ruby's Pantry held at Lake of the Woods School bus garage since the first Ruby's Pantry truck began coming to Baudette nearly a year ago.

"It's a great way to get groceries for not as much money," said Debbie. "We usually buy two food shares, so we can provide groceries for my mother-in-law. Last month each food share included large baskets of blackberries, bread, milk, and several packages of thin sliced frozen beef like you use in Philly cheesesteak. There are usually snacks like popcorn and granola bars. Last month we received chocolate bars."

"One month we got 12 chickens per share that were from Walmart. We've gotten gallon sized canned vegetables that I've divided into portions and froze. It all depends on what is overstocked in warehouses and what may be ready to expire in a couple months. Ruby's Pantry really helps our budget go further."

Ruby's Pantry Mission And History

Ruby's Pantry is a 501 C3 non profit food ministry and not government funded. All food is donated by corporate food donors, making it possible to reach more families each month at locations across Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Iowa.

Ruby's Pantry Mission: 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.

Pastor Lyn Sahr and wife Lonna conducted mission trips to Mexico four or five times every year. Before one trip, they had arranged to collect toys from three organizations in Minneapolis to take to children in Mexico. But on the first pickup, they were surprised to have their truck filled full of food. They brought the food home and started giving it away. That was how Ruby's Pantry was born in 2003. Ruby's Pantry was named after Lyn Sahr's grandmother Ruby, who Lyn described as a Godly woman who had instilled within him the value of God in his life.

In the early years of Ruby's Pantry, it was a struggle as they never knew from one day to the next what was going to happen. The organization was given a cube van, a 20 foot used truck and a 24 foot used truck. Ruby's Pantry purchased a building in North Branch, Minnesota after receiving a gift of $25,000 from ConAgra and began doing food distribution to two towns. One town was 50 miles north of Ruby's Pantry and the other town was 20 miles south.

What began as a way to distribute food from warehouses that would otherwise go to waste, with only a few volunteers and truck drivers, has grown to serve approximately 24,000 families (about 60,000 individuals) in 87 locations, all sponsored by local churches. Ruby's Pantry now has 70 employees, 18 semi tractors, 25 refrigerated trailers, and 9 buildings.

Ruby's Pantry will be held the second Thursday of the month at Roseau Electric Co-op from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. and is sponsored by First Baptist Church. For the complete history of Ruby's Pantry and a list of all Ruby's Pantry locations, log on to


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