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Ruby's Pantry provides a 'hand up' in Menahga

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"For such a time such as this" has never meant more than it does today for the urgency of food needs for families in rural communities in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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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.

In 2011 Ruby's Pantry provided 5,867,320 pounds of food at their distributions to 70,086 families. According to government estimates of food value, that equates to $13,553,509 of food distributed to over 210,258 individuals estimating three persons per household.

This does not include the food provided to other food organizations, churches, charitable events, civic organizations, and spoilage or pallet weight.

Ruby's Pantry is in its ninth 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 32 rural communities covering 16 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin presently distributing food to 7,000-8,000 families per month. Its largest individual distribution in 2011 was 760 families in Brainerd.

Five more distribution sites are planned for 2012 increasing the distribution to families to 9,000 to 10,000 families per month.

Ruby's Pantry has five semi-tractors, nine reefer road trailers and five reefer storage dock trailers with new carrier reefer units, five straight box trucks, three cube vans and one cargo van that are needed to accommodate the mission.

Ruby's Pantry is a community food outreach program of Home and Away Ministries, Inc. with its distribution and outreach centers at North Branch, Waupaca, Wis., Siren, Wis. and its main offices at Pine City.

In 2011 Home and Away Ministries provided 240 children in the small rural community of Ramey toys at Christmas and 13 new bikes were also distributed to children in the Pine City and Rush City area.

Its MissionXpress program sent mission teams to the Rio Grande Valley (McAllen, Texas area) where youth and adults participated in worship services in Spanish speaking churches and distributed food and clothing to people walking across the Mexican border.

In 2012 they are sending more mission teams from churches with a coach bus available to transport large groups to Texas. They are also planning construction teams to work in Spanish speaking Rio Grande Valley churches through their "James Gang" outreach program. There are over 400 Spanish-speaking churches in the Rio Grande Valley.

For more information on the programs and food distribution locations, see the website at www.rubyspantry.org, e-mail good news@rubyspantry.org or call 320-629-7400.

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