The first time I went to Ruby’s Pantry, I was pretty intimidated. I had no idea what to expect. Would I do it right? I want to help you have a smooth, successful Ruby’s Pantry experience. I am going to tell you what is Ruby’s Pantry and how it works in 10 easy steps.
Download your FREE Ruby’s Quick Start Guide
What is Ruby’s Pantry?
According to the Ruby’s Pantry Website
Ruby’s Pantry is for ANYONE that eats! There is no income or residency requirement and Ruby’s Pantry is for anyone looking to extend their monthly grocery budget. Each guest donates a $20 donation and receives an abundance of grocery items. Ruby’s Pantry is not government funded and is a 501 C3. 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.https://rubyspantry.org/about-us
How does it work?
That’s where I come in! I want to help you have a smooth and successful Ruby’s Pantry Experience. It can be a little intimidating the first time you attend a Ruby’s Pantry!
Ruby’s Pantry in 10 Steps
Here is a break down of how to have the most successful Ruby’s Experience in 10 easy steps!
What to Do right now
Step 1 – Join the How to Facebook Group
You may already be a member of the How to Use your Ruby’s Pantry Haul – SW Wisconsin Facebook Group. If not, please join it right now! It is a wonderful community of like-minded Ruby’s Pantry Users! Please keep in mind, it is specific to Southwest Wisconsin, but there is helpful information such as tips and recipes for all Ruby’s Pantry users.
Step 2 – Follow the Ruby’s Pantry Facebook Page
Step 2 is to follow the main Ruby’s Pantry Facebook Page because they post dates and locations of each haul. They also list the food that will available at the haul. It is a great page to follow so you don’t forget your haul!
Step 3 – Visit Ruby’s Pantry Website
You may need to register for your specific location. Since Covid happened, many of Ruby’s Pantry locations are pivoting to find a safe way to distribute their shares. Be patient as they find their new normal. As far as I know, all locations are now drive through pickups, but I can’t confirm that 100%. You can find the nearest Ruby’s Pantry Location here.
Step 4 – Mark your Calendar
Mark your calendar with the next Ruby’s Pantry event near you. There is also a list of all the Ruby’s Pantry locations across Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as, a lot of other helpful information!
What to Do Before You Go
The day of Ruby’s has finally arrived. Here are a few things you should do before you head to the distribution location.
Step 5 Clean out your vehicle and your freezer
Make sure your vehicle is cleaned out, so it is easy for the volunteers to load the food.
Step 6 – Bring Boxes to fill or donate
If your location accepts boxes, bring boxes to donate. Ask the volunteers when they load your vehicle if they need boxes. If you live a distance from the distribution location, you may want to bring coolers to put the frozen items in. Be sure to do this in a safe location after you leave the distribution location. You don’t want to hold up the line.
Step 7 – Be sure to have cash
As far as I know, drive through locations only accept cash. Be sure to have exact change. Each share costs $20. Some locations limit the number of shares you can purchase.
What to Do at Ruby’s Pantry
Step 8 – Have your cash ready, Follow Volunteers’ Instructions
Each location is a little different. Listen closely to the volunteers’ instructions and follow them! These people are giving of their time and physical strength to distribute Ruby’s Pantry food. Be kind to them and thank them for their service. Consider volunteering at your location!
What to Do After Ruby’s Pantry
Now that you have your Ruby’s Pantry share, it is time to head home and unload your food.
Step 9 – Unload your Haul and Sort your Food
If you have children, gather them up to help you unload your haul and put it away. Try to make mental notes of what you will keep and what you will give away as you put it away.
Step 10 – Visit the How to Use your Ruby’s Haul Facebook group for food trades, menu plans, and recipes
Head back to How to Use your Ruby’s Pantry Haul – SW Wisconsin Facebook Group. There you can find recipes and menu ideas. If you are local to SW Wisconsin, you can list any food you would like to give away or request any food you would like more of.
Be sure to download your free Ruby’s Pantry Quick Start Guide for a smooth, successful Ruby’s Pantry Experience.
You can also check out the free menu plan that has recipe links and 35 meals, snacks, and dessert ideas for an entire week!
Are you looking for more menu planning ideas? Check out this guide to help you get started planning your own menus! When you sign up for the free checklist, you will also receive free menu planning worksheets. You can read more about meal planning.
Have you had your first Ruby’s Pantry experience? Tell me about it in the comments. Please post any additional tips you have for a smooth, successful experience. I love to hear from my readers!