Customers were lined up bumper to bumper for nearly a mile in Pine River waiting for Ruby's Pantry to start distribution at the Pine River Faith Assembly of God Church on Tuesday, June 23.

Cars started lining up two hours early and the congestion was perhaps the only real problem encountered during the first distribution.

“We were really pleased with the great turnout of people purchasing shares and with our number of volunteers and the quality of food that came through,” said Lisa Walker, with Faith Assembly of God Church. “It went really well. Obviously there was a pretty steep learning curve, but we have already been saying, 'Let's have a meeting so we can talk about how to streamline things.'”

Walker said approximately 317 shares of food were sold for $20 each. The food is new, overstocked food donated by corporations for redistribution through Ruby's Pantry. Each share has an estimated value of approximately $100. The event started with approximately 400 shares or 42 pallets of food. Those items not distributed are not going to waste, however.

“Some perishable products were donated to the Pine River Group Home and the Pine River Community Meals on Wheels,” Walker said.

Until the group has an estimate of average monthly shares, some of the less perishable products go back to the distributor. A portion of the funding raised by sale of the shares also goes to good use with 10% coming back into the Community Benevolence fund. Sale of the shares also go toward operating expenses, such as to buy pallet jacks or other equipment to move products.

The next distribution will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 28. By that time, Walker expects to have made some changes to streamline distribution, possibly including distributing to two lines of cars instead of one.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.