The Journey North Aitkin pastor Lynfield Hines sees hosting the Ruby’s Pantry food distribution as one more opportunity to help people in the Aitkin community.
December 2019 marked one year since TJN began hosting the program.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hines said they are making good use of the large parking lot in front of the church on Hwy. 210/Second St. NW in Aitkin to set up lanes and stations that allow the movement of cars through in a very safe and efficient manner.
Cars queue up in the parking lot in defined lanes, come up to a volunteer at a payment area where they pay their $20 cash per share, then pull up to the next station where a volunteer loads more than $100 per share worth of groceries into their car.
“People don’t even have to leave their cars, so it’s a great way to help people get the food they need without compromising their safe spacing with regard to the virus,” said Hines.
Hines estimated Ruby’s Pantry distributed about 300 shares in the May event, serving about 500 individuals.
TJN makes sure that pastoral staff is on hand for the food distribution events, in case there are any participants requesting counseling or prayer.
“We just want to care for people in every way we can,” said Hines.
Ruby’s Pantry is open to anyone looking to extend their monthly grocery budget. There is no income or residency requirement.
Ruby’s Pantry is not government funded and is a 501 (c)3. Each donation is used to cover operational costs like trucking, gas, and warehouse staff. All of the food is donated by corporate food donors making it possible to reach more families each month at locations across Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Ruby’s Pantry food distribution takes place on the first Saturday of each month. For more information about the program, go to www.rubyspantry.org or call The Journey North 218- 824-5617.
The Journey North is at 810 Second St NW in Aitkin.