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Ruby's Pantry continues to grow to meet needs

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Ruby's Pantry, with a delivery base in Menahga, continues to grow to meet the needs of the underemployed, unemployed, elderly and all families needing a "hand up" in these challenging economic times.

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Starting with a pickup load of food that they received by surprise, Ruby's Pantry, a nonprofit with 39 distribution sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin, has grown to over 4,000 volunteers that serve over 10,000 families each month across all locations. In 2012 the organization received over 9 million pounds of donated food that was distributed to families at their food distributions and to other organizations.

There are no income or residency guidelines to attend a Ruby's Pantry food distribution. Ruby's Pantry is funded by the $15 donation per participant for operational costs such as fuel. "Guests" bring two large boxes or laundry baskets to carry their food in. They receive an abundance of food.

But the part that most people don't realize is that Ruby's Pantry runs the program on just $12 of the $15 it receives. The other $3 stays with the local sponsoring church to be used to help other people in the community. It is not used for local church expenses in their general fund. In 2012 this $3 amounted to $302,023 that stayed in the local community to help people all month long with food, gas cards, utilities and other needs. Home and Away Ministries employs 30 people to accomplish this.

In Menahga, the distribution is the third Saturday of the month at Assumption of Our Lady Catholic Church.

To accommodate the distribution growth two more semi tractors were added to the five it presently owned. Ruby's Pantry operates seven semi tractors, 15 semi reefer road trailers, five stationary semi-trailer electric reefer units and 15 other road vehicles including straight trucks, vans, etc.

Ruby's Pantry is in its tenth year of serving rural communities with donated surplus food and goods to fight hunger and disease. It provides large quantities of food for distributions directly to families in 39 rural communities providing food in underserved counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Eight more distribution sites are planned for 2013 and increasing the distribution to families to over 13,000 families per month. Ruby's Pantry is a community food outreach program of Home and Away Ministries, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit corporation.

For more information go to www.rubyspantry.org or call 564-4501 for information about the local distribution in Menahga.

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