Ruby's Pantry to distribute groceries in Pine River

Distribution will start at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, at Faith Assembly of God Church


Pine River area residents who know about Ruby's Pantry are excitedly waiting for its arrival Tuesday, June 23, at the Faith Assembly of God Church in Pine River.

For those who don't know, Ruby's Pantry is a 501(c)(3) that helps people extend their grocery budget by buying “shares” of overstock food that large businesses donate to Ruby's. When it comes to Pine River, the program will be “drive-thru” distribution due to continued COVID-19 safety concerns.

“So it's going to be very easy for people to pay $20 for this share of groceries,” said Lisa Walker, with Faith Assembly of God Church. “They can purchase one or more shares, up to three for the first one. They could purchase a share for someone else, a friend or family member, and basically what they're coming away with is well over $100 worth of groceries - meat products, paper products, dry goods, all of the things that are donated from companies at this particular time.”

Ruby's Pantry also distributes in Brainerd, where it attracts huge crowds of people looking to make their buck go further. The program operates through faith organizations in more than 86 locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“What happens is there are corporations who donate products to Ruby's Pantry for distribution, and then the sponsoring community - the sponsoring faith-based organization - acts as a host site to take care of the distribution of the product,” Walker said.


Right now there are 40 volunteers for the Pine River site. Walker is excited to see the program ramp up locally.

“I had been a part of the Ruby's Pantry in Brainerd and I found it to be very helpful to people. It's designed to help families stretch their grocery budget. There are high quality products; there's a nice variety," Walker said.

Ruby's Pantry's mission is: 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.

Distribution at the Pine River location will start at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 23. There will be signs near the church to direct traffic for the best flow.

Ruby's Pantry was founded by Lyn Sahr in 2003 in Minneapolis. Sahr named it after his grandmother, Ruby A. Flodin, whom he credits with instilling him with the value of God. What is distributed by Ruby's Pantry varies from week to week based on donations. Those details are announced every week at

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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