Ruby’s Pantry in Readfield and Waupaca has been a true blessing to me. I have had the opportunity to receive the food, to be a part of a team, to be able to serve. The first two visits to Ruby’s pantry I went just as a participant. At Ruby’s Pantry you pay $15 to help cover the costs of transportation of the food to the distribution center. Also $6 of the $15 is kept in the local community for those in more need than us. Ruby’s Pantry gets donations of foods from large corporate donors. Food warehouses, manufacturers, processors and other sources donate food to Ruby’s. Most of the donations are because the food is about to expire or meet its sell by date. Most food is still good until a long while after the sell by date and so we get a lot of food this way. Also many food at Ruby’s is food that cannot be taken by normal food pantries. Ruby’s has a large volunteer team at each of its distribution centers that allows them to repackage fresh, refrigerated, frozen, or baked goods from large cases into smaller usable cases that can be distributed to those in need. The normal food pantries do not accept perishable food or food that has to be repackaged so Ruby’s Pantry fills a need for food with a supply of perishable food in large cases. Ruby’s does also receive some canned goods but not many because most of those are given to the more traditional food pantries.
Each time we have been at Ruby’s we have received a large amount of food. Some of the items were frozen chicken, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, shredded hard boiled eggs, tater-tots, tater logs, French fries, potato puffs, a case of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, frozen diced mushrooms, frozen diced peppers and onions, yogurt, coffee creamer, half and half, potatoes, bread, buns, cookies, jello, pudding, relish, pizza crusts, pepperoni, canned vegetables, orange juice, trail mix, breath mint candy and more. This list is so long I cannot imagine that the list could possibly be longer but I am sure that I am missing items. Many of these items we get an entire case but the quantity and availability on all items varies because it is entirely dependant on what items are donated to Ruby’s.
The experience at Ruby’s is interesting. Registration is from 8am to 9am. First you walk in and fill out a clip board sheet of paper with your contact information, and how many people are in your family and sign the waiver that you are not paying for the food but actually making a donation to the non-profit which goes toward the cost transportation and warehousing. Then you wait in line while everyone makes their donation, gets their number, and gets registered. After you have your number there is then a waiting area where you wait until your number has been called. In the waiting area there are prayers and gospel ministry. They call off about five numbers at a time for people to go through the line. Ruby’s likes you to bring laundry baskets, totes, or boxes to put into your cart to collect your food. There are boxes available from some of the packaging of the food for those who forget. I usually forget! :O)