Starting with their November 18th distribution, Ruby’s Pantry of Austin will be asking for a $22 per bundle donation.
Bob Rosel, Media Coordinator for Ruby’s Pantry of Austin stated that they will be asking for exact change to help keep the line moving with a minimum of delays. He stated that the two dollar increase is to help with increasing transportation and storage costs. All 90 plus Ruby’s Pantry sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa will make this change beginning in November, including Austin, Albert Lea, Mason City, Rochester and Zumbrota.
The pandemic has presented some challenges to their distributions from lack of volunteers to increased costs, and Rosel stated tht Ruby’s Pantry does not buy the food it distributes. The items are donated by companies and other commercial entities for Ruby’s to pick up and store until they can be distributed thru their monthly food share pop-up pantries. Ruby’s sends trucks across the country to pick up the donated items and then stores them in North Branch, MN. Each distribution then gets a select variety of items from Ruby’s headquarters which are trucked to each site on the day of distribution. Rosel stated that all of this transporting and storage has become increasingly expensive since the pandemic began, forcing Ruby’s to ask for two dollars more per bundle. Rosel went on to state in a news release that the board of directors of Ruby’s Pantry kept the increases to a minimum to help struggling families and in hopes that prices will stabilize.
Another change at some of Austin’s distributions has been the return to one line of cars instead of two. Rosel stated that this change is made on the day of the distribution depending on how many volunteers show up. Rosel stated that Ruby’s is always in need of more volunteers. If you have questions about volunteering for Ruby’s Pantry call Grace Lutheran Church at 433-3445. They are expecting pantry usage to go up in the months ahead and hope volunteers will arrive to help out.
The Ruby’s Pantry Austin distributions remain a drive-by with a two bundle per vehicle limit. The distribution begins at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 18th and will continue until 5:30 or until they run out of items. It is held every third Thursday of the Month at the Mower County Fairgrounds.