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Ruby’s Pantry Austin begins its third year

Ruby’s Pantry Austin will begin its third year of distributing donated food to area residents starting on Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Mower County Fairgrounds. The distribution will be from 4-5:30 p.m. or until they run out of items. It will continue to be a drive-through event.

Over the first two years, Ruby’s Pantry Austin has provided nearly 6,000 bundles of food and  other items to guests for a small donation of $20 per bundle. The food share distributions began in September of 2019 at Grace Lutheran Church in Austin.

Because of the COVID-19  pandemic, the monthly distributions moved outdoors to the Mower County Fairgrounds last April. Ruby’s Pantry Austin is a nondenominational community ministry serving all area residents regardless of income or residence. They continue to have volunteers from many area communities, businesses and organizations and are always in need of more volunteers.

This past summer saw a decline in the number of guests using Ruby’s, going from an average of 250 bundles distributed each month to under 200. With the end of summer activities and the winding down of government COVID-19 economic stimulus, they expect the need to begin to increase once again.

There was also a decline in the number of volunteers at the summer distributions. More  volunteers are needed. Anyone interested should come by at around 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 to the Mower County Fairgrounds. Groups are welcome as are individuals. If anyone has  questions, please call Grace Lutheran Church at 1-507-433-3445. Ruby’s Pantry Austin is also on Facebook at facebook.com/Rubys-Pantry-Austin.

Ruby’s Pantry Austin appreciates all its volunteers and business partners: Thompson Sanitation, Andy’s Logging, KAUS AM/FM, The Austin Daily Herald, KAAL TV, The Mower County Fair Board and staff, Mower County Emergency Management and International Paper.