Ministry coming to feed hungry

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A food distribution ministry based in North Branch is expanding its work into Albert Lea this weekend.

Starting Saturday and continuing every first Saturday of the month, Ruby’s Pantry will be at Albert Lea Assembly of God to help families in need of food.

“Our main goal is to feed who’s hungry,” said Roxanne Sahr, program director.

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Organizers are anticipating at least 400 people at the first distribution.

Participants are asked to bring $20, and in exchange they will receive up to $150 of food. Of the $20 given, $18 goes back to cover operational expenses of Ruby’s Pantry and $2 stays in the community.

People will be required to register when they arrive. No documentation or income proof is needed, and people are encouraged to bring two large boxes, coolers or laundry baskets to put their food in. Volunteers will be available to help transport the food to vehicles.

Sahr said all of the food is donated from large manufacturers.

Ruby’s Pantry began about 12 years ago as a mission outreach to Mexico. Its focus has since changed from delivering toys to delivering food to almost 50 sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Sahr said the effort is named after her great-grandmother, Ruby Flodin, who lived in western Wisconsin and always shared what she had with others.

In 2012, the organization distributed more than 9 million pounds of food to more than 100,000 families, according to the its website.

Grant Lohse, lead organizer with Albert Lea Assembly of God, said the church found out about Ruby’s Pantry through a former pastor now serving in Sauk Centre.

He said about 70 people have already signed up to volunteer.

Assembly of God church is at 1540 South Shore Drive. The distribution will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m.