Greetings from Ruby's Heart!  
Ruby's Heart

Volunteer Newsletter Winter 2019

Greetings Valued Volunteer!

Wishing you a joyous and blessed Christmas!

Lines from Lyn

It’s Christmas for all of us! And it is a very special Christmas for believers in Jesus Christ. As we celebrate, we all need to be reminded that there are a lot of people who live very meagerly and do not have much for gifts or food over this wonderful time of the year. I would encourage you to seek God and ask him if there is anyone that He would like you to do something nice for this Christmas. Just a small sacrifice on our parts can make a huge difference in the lives of other people.

Even though it has been about 60 some years ago, I still remember my grandmother Ruby in the midst of her poverty, putting together a box of food for the neighbors down the street. She was home with her five children and her husband was in the service stationed away from home. The most amazing thing to witness was Ruby going outside, killing a chicken, de-feathering it, cleaning it, and taking it to the family. This amazing act of kindness has stuck in my head my entire life and I doubt that there has ever been a Christmas since then that I haven’t thought about this. 

Perhaps you could not do that, but I am sure that you have someone in your life who could use some encouragement of some kind that you could provide for them this Christmas. Perhaps you may be that family! Pray and ask God to direct what your need is, the need to give or the need to receive. 

Merry Christmas!

Lyn Sahr
Founder and Executive Director


Thank you, John & Carol!
Written by Ruby's Pantry

One of our hidden treasures are a couple, John and Carol Mauser, who have been both employees and volunteers for Ruby’s Heart since 2007. For those who have not met them, John has been a driver with the Waupaca Warehouse and Carol, his wife, volunteers her time riding along and helping out at the different Pop-Up Pantries.

When they started, they picked up loads and sorted produce at the first warehouse in Waupaca. With John having an opportunity to drive semi, they were able to step into more ways to serve. This couple has worked in the Waupaca Warehouse, delivered food to distributions and have enjoyed being a part of the start-up at several Pop-Up Pantries.

They feel that they have been blessed to know volunteers that have a passion for what they are doing. Carol stated, “The best thing is when God lets you see what this means to the people. From the widow lady (pictured lower right) we met several times who was always grateful for each and every item she received, to the gentleman who was glad to see us pull in with the load of food because his family has used the last of what they had that morning. God’s allowed us to be a part of those moments and many others like them. It is what makes the volunteer experience special and rewarding.” 

We love working with this couple, when you see them they always have a smile and a passion for the people and for God. John speaks gently and humbly but always with a heart for the lord. We refer to them as the dynamic duo! Any site that is blessed to have them deliver the food loves them! They have an amazing ability to spread the word of God by being his hands and feet with kindness, compassion and a genuine joy for the Lord.

Message from Martha

Merry Christmas! 

This year seems to have gone by in a blur! A huge thank you goes out to all of the volunteers that have helped. You, as volunteers are reaching out to over 20,000 families each month! I want to thank all of you. Without your hard work and dedication we would not be able to continue this ministry. 

In the last few months I have had the fortune to get to visit a few more sites for the volunteer appreciation events. It has been very fun to be able to go out to the sites and meet the hard working volunteers. I love hearing the stories of why each person is volunteering. Each person I have met has a reason why they are volunteering, and why they continue to volunteer. Whatever your reason for volunteering, I wish you more! I pray that you will continue to help meet the needs of the people in your communities. I know from personal experience that when I help others I get so much satisfaction from it. We can so easily get bogged down in the stress of the season and forget why we are helping others. Take the time to look for those individuals that are in need of a boost during the holiday season

I have read numerous articles this year of what gifts to give under a budget. The common theme of many of these articles is giving the gift of your TIME. Give the gift of your time to talk, to listen, to visit, to care…… I read an article that a teacher had written that when youth return to school after the holidays, they talk about the games that they played, the books that were read to them, the adventures that they had. They had already forgotten the toys and stuff they were given but the memories are what they wanted to share. Take the time to play games, to play in the snow and make memories this holiday!

Martha Kruse
Volunteer Coordinator

Ruby's Hall of Hearts 2019

CONGRATULATIONS to this year's inductees into our Hall of Hearts! Each winner has volunteered with Ruby's Pantry for a minimum of five years and was nominated by either a fellow volunteer or one of our staff members. The winners are listed below. THANK YOU Hall of Hearts winners - We honor you!

Harold & Carol Schumacker - Rhinelander Pop-Up Pantry

When you talk about heart, they are the heart of the Rhinelander Ruby’s Pantry!

Harold and Carol were part of the community group that first approached Grace Foursquare Church to bring Ruby’s to Rhinelander over 5 years ago. They saw how Ruby’s Pantry helped out another community and wanted to bless Rhinelander with having one here. Then in 2017 when we had to find a new location for Ruby’s, they never had any doubts that we had to do whatever it took to keep Ruby’s in Rhinelander. Their commitment to being at the distribution every 3rd Tuesday has been unwavering and rarely have they missed a committee meeting. They have made every annual and regional meeting in the last 5 years. Even with multiple health issues, they have been faithful and always a joy to work with. 

Due to health reasons they have currently stepped out of their leadership role, they do hope to come when they are able. We know that their prayers will be with us when they can’t make it. Their smiles, hard work and wisdom will be greatly missed. Harold and Carol may God continue to bless you, comfort you when needed and let you know that you are loved by him and Rhinelander Ruby’s.

Ron Harrison - Ruby’s Second Hand & Siren Food Shelf 

Ron is a great example of what it means to give from the heart.

Ron spends time in our food shelf volunteering. When we get a phone call to pick up food at our local grocery store Ron is the man we call, that is if he is not already here. He has been doing this for years now, sometime twice a week, mostly by himself. The loads range from 300-650 plus pounds a load. It was sad this last winter Ron’s truck was totaled out, due to a bad driver. This didn’t stop him. He now hauls the food in style, in his Buick.

Ron also volunteers with Ruby’s Second Hand thrift store twice a week and more. Ron is what I call my inventory specialist, he sorts the majority of the items that come in. If it is house wares, linen, toys, clothing, sporting goods, holiday etc.., he has a “system” and moves some items to areas for further inspection.  I will ask customers if there is anything” special” that they are looking for. If it is not on the sales floor, I will ask Ron. If we have it, Ron brings it out. If you have never seen the warehouse, well, let us just say God works miracles and so does Ron. 

Ron is part of the Best Team Ever.

Dean & Runette Schultz-Perham Pop-Up Pantry

We all know someone like this. Someone who devotes much of their life in the service to others. If we’re fortunate, we call them friends, and if we’re truly blessed, we call them brother and sister in Christ.

Dean and Ruhnette (Nettie) Schultz are such people, supportive of Ruby’s Pantry mission of extending a helping hand to all people. They were among the first to volunteer when it was decided to approach Lynn about establishing a distribution site in Perham six years ago. Little did we know that the two of them would become one of the anchors of the Perham Ministry. We often hear others speak of those who selflessly devote their time and treasure to the benefit of others. This can be said of Dean and Nettie. Sometimes to my dismay and at personal cost to the two of them. Simply put, Dean and Nettie often look beyond their personal needs and to the needs of others.

They are indeed very resourceful, ever able to find a solution to a pressing problem.  Need a forklift at a moment’s notice? Ask Dean. Heavy snowfall the night prior to the morning’s distribution? No need to ask because Dean will have the entire site cleared by 6am. Broken delivery carts? No worries, they’ll be good as new by next distribution? Need someone to reconcile the bill of lading and determine shares? Consider it done, serve as cart driver, share loader, volunteer coordinator or greeter? and the list goes on and on and on. What’s best is their kind and gentle approach to our guests and other volunteers towards. It’s positively wonderful.

How Dean and Nettie find the time to contribute to the extent they do is perplexing especially considering the two of them run a farm and Nettie works in an accounting firm and very, very involved in church work. We are thankful for the skills and willingness to work they bring to Ruby’s Pantry. Best of all we’re most appreciative of the way they live their lives – as a personal witness for Christ.

David Pawlowski
Ruby’s Pantry
Perham, MN

Mary Lee Raley - Cohasset Pop-Up Pantry

Mary Lee has been with the Cohasset Ruby’s Pantry since the beginning in 2011 as the site’s coordinator. Mary Lee stepped up and volunteered for this massive undertaking when the Cohasset City Council first inquired if Our Redeemer Lutheran Church would sponsor a Ruby’s Pantry in the city of Cohasset.

Mary Lee unselfishly gave numerous hours of her time, visiting other sites to grasp a good understanding of how the entire process should work, so that Cohasset could be successful.
Mary Lee not only was site coordinator, she organized the distribution, kept the books, ran errands, paying the bills and so much more. She wore so many hats just to be sure we could provide food to our community, especially the seniors in our outreach program, delivering blessing boxes as well as monthly extra such as laundry soap, facial tissue, and cookies at Christmas. The seniors were so appreciative of the food and the extra household items, freeing up a small amount of their limited income for other necessities. Mary Lee often volunteered up to fifty hour a month to keep Ruby’s Pantry running smoothly.

Sadly, Mary Lee decided to retire this past March, she wanted to spend more time with family and do some traveling. We will miss her smiling face, but she did promise to help on the distribution line when she is in town.

All the volunteers thank Mary Lee for her dedication to Ruby’s over the past 8 years.

We cannot think of anyone more deserving to receive this award!

Elmer Anderson - Brookston & Eveleth Pop-Up Pantries

We first met our volunteer in Brookston. When he found out we were having a site in Eveleth, he said; ”I’m going to volunteer at your site.”

Not only did he come as a volunteer, he brought 5 other volunteers with him.
He also does a lot of other volunteering in his town, Church events, Community Events, Santa Clause, and others.

We were blessed with ELMER ANDERSON


Shane and Pam Brown - Sauk Centre Pop-Up Pantry

Pam and Shane were the founders of the Ruby's Pantry in Sauk Centre MN. The site has grown by leaps and bounds. The first distribution 160 shares were picked up, from that beginning, they are now steadily over 300 shares at each distribution.

Pam and Shane give tirelessly to the success of this program. They rarely miss a distribution and on distribution day, they arrive early and help everything get organized for the day. They are an encouragement to the volunteers and readily answer questions of anyone and everyone. All of this is done with a positive attitude and prayers when needed.

Pam and Shane also go above and beyond in their work in the community. They are constantly looking for sales at our local area stores and buy supplies for the needy children at school that cannot afford all their needed school supplies or clothing needed (especially winter wear). I know that they have received many late night calls from people in need and they make themselves available to help.

Pam and Shane Brown truly exemplify what Ruby's Heart truly means and if Ruby were alive today, I am sure she would be very proud to have them as part of her legacy.

Barb Wahlstrom - Luck Pop-Up Pantry & Ruby’s Well Care Center

Barb Walstrom has been a tireless volunteer with Ruby's Pantry in Luck, Wisconsin for many years. Her positive attitude and calm frame of mind are an asset to the continued success and growth of our food distributions. Barb can size up an issue, listen to the details, and offer a solution to move ahead... often volunteering to take care of the "problem" herself! In short, our group of coordinators could call her our "Steady Eddie". 

Barb's professional life shows that she's a perfect (and appreciated) fit for helping make the many aspects of our distributions "flow". As a registered nurse for over 20 years in family practice and OB-Gyn, she and her husband Karl lived in St. Paul and enjoyed their cabin in the Luck area. They eventually moved full-time to Wisconsin, and Barb commuted the last 5 years before retiring.

In addition to the monthly food distributions and coordinator meetings, Barb trained and became certified to work at the Ruby's Well Care foot clinic each week. She's held this position since it started and says it's very rewarding to help people and also listen to their stories.

Barb Wahlstrom leads by example, and her friends and clients are very thankful for her time, experience, and love for her community. She is very deserving for this award.

Amy Aguado
Luck Pop-Up Pantry Site Leader

Barb has been instrumental with both Ruby’s WellCare Clinic as well as the Ruby’s Nail & Toe Clinic. She has worked with various doctors supporting the free clinic on Tuesday evenings and has provided dedicated care to many of the patients that come in to the WellCare clinic. As patients came into the clinic, Barb saw a need for Nail and Toe care for elderly and disabled patients and became certified to provide nail & toe care at the clinic. With the increase in patients, the clinic grew from providing assistance during the WellCare Clinic to offering the Nail & Toe Care clinic on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. In recent months, she has been instrumental in marketing and advertising the WellCare Clinic, Nail & Toe Clinic and the free beauty salon clinic. The patient base and clinic hours have continued to grow to several more days each month. Barb has also been heavily involved in the patient intake form changes and creating documentation and files for the patients so we have a good record at the clinic. Anyone that comes in to the clinic loves spending time getting to know Barb. 

With recent staffing changes over the last year at the Retreat Center, Barb has provided continuous support during the changes and has trained the new coordinators on the clinic protocol and needs. She always makes sure the clinic supplies are available and communicates what is needed and has worked with the new doctor at the WellCare Clinic to go through and clean up many of the items in the clinic.

Barb is an integral part of the Ruby’s WellCare and the Ruby’s Retreat and her energy and passion for helping others is contagious.

Tracy Breault
Ruby’s Heart

Nancy Sigsworth - Amery Pop-Up Pantry

If I were told to pick a bible verse that comes to mind when working with Nancy Sigsworth, it would be Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Nancy puts her whole heart and energy in everything she does while serving others, not for her own glory but for the glory of God. When Nancy is participating in our Ruby’s Pop-Up Pantry, her light does, indeed, shine brightly as she greats guests and volunteers with genuine warmth and contagious enthusiasm. She makes everyone feel welcome and most appreciated. Nancy has a smile for everyone which helps brighten even the coldest winter morning on food distribution day.

Whenever she is asked what she does for Ruby’s Pantry, Nancy responds, “I really just do what I think is needed.” This is a typically modest answer from Nancy, while, in fact, she truly is the backbone of our site. In addition to greeting guests and volunteers, Nancy is our online presence. She keeps up our Facebook page with pictures and videos along with continuous written publicity and updates. Nancy listens and responds quickly to both compliments and complaints. If there is a complaint or suggestion, Nancy coordinates with all involved at our site or at Ruby’s main office to resolve the issue. Nancy is also our paperwork guru making sure all forms are completed and sent to the corporate office. 

To sum it up, I would call Nancy our Ruby’s Pantry ambassador. One has only to work with Nancy to see the light of Jesus shining through. She loves the Lord and it shows in the way she cares about, and treats all who come through our doors, both guests and volunteers. Nancy Sigsworth is truly a reflection of the beliefs and mission of Ruby’s Heart.

Written by Rev Barry Schaefer
Amery Pop-Up Pantry Site Leader

Todd's Tips

Winter weather safety tips:  Preparing yourself, home and vehicle for the upcoming winter season

Prepare yourself - Some winter weather tips to help you get through a severe stretch of cold:
  • Stay indoors during severe stretches of cold.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways. Shuffle your feet like a penguin.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. It’s a serious workout, and over exertion can bring on a heart attack − a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
  • Stay dry. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits the cold rapidly.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities. If any of these occur, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. 
Prepare your home:
  • Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
  • Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you're not using it.
  • During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected crawl spaces.
  • Avoid ice dams – where water from melted snow refreezes in the gutters and seeps in under the roof, soaking interior walls. 
Prepare your vehicle:
  • Top off antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, gas, oil and other fluids.
  • Make sure your tires have enough tread. Consider snow tires.
  • Keep bagged salt or sand in the trunk for extra traction and to melt ice.
  • Clear snow from the top of the car, headlights and windows.
  • Save the numbers for your auto club, insurance agent and towing service into your cell phone.
  • Keep a cold-weather kit in your trunk. It should include a blanket or sleeping bag, gloves, hard candy, bottled water, folding shovel, first aid kit, flashlight and cell phone charger.

Ruby's Recipes

  • 4 c Rice Chex
  • 3 c Corn Chex
  • 2 c Wheat Chex
  • 2 c pretzels
  • 2 c bagel chips
  • 1 c Bugles
  • 1 c peanuts
  • 10 Tbsp butter (melted)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  1. In a large slow cooker (6 quart or bigger, oval gives more cooking space) place the cereals, pretzels, bagel chips, bugles, and peanuts. Use two wooden spoons to gently mix together.
  2. Place the melted butter in a small bowl and add the Worcestershire sauce and spices and stir together until mixed well.
  3. Pour some of the butter mixture over the cereal mixture and mix with the two spoons. Keep pouring the butter mixture over in small amounts and mixing until all the butter mixture is gone.
  4. With the slow cooker on low cook for three hours. For the first two hours stirring every 25-30 minutes. The last hour stir every 15-20 minutes to keep from burning.
  5. Spread the cereal mixture in a single layer onto an ungreased baking sheet or parchment paper to cool for 20 minutes before serving.
Place some paper towels under the lid while cooking to absorb any extra moisture. Wipe the moisture off the lid each time you stir.

Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 1052mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 614IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 8mg 

Volunteer Opportunities Available at our Luck Ministry Center!

Ruby’s Retreat & Well Care Center in Luck has many opportunities to serve!  If it is on your heart to make a difference in the lives of people in rural Wisconsin, we have a place for you!  Our free clinic is every Tuesday evening, and we can always use more medical professionals – doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants, mental health clinicians, and more!  We also offer a foot and toe clinic a few days a month, for which we would welcome nurses who have had specialized training in foot and nail care, specifically, for those living with diabetes.  In addition to our medical clinic, we would also LOVE to roll out our free Dental Clinic, and invite dental hygienists and dentists to volunteer to assist us in making this happen!  We have all of the equipment and exam rooms set up and ready to go; we are just waiting for a volunteer team to help us get the ball rolling.

If you are a cosmetologist, we would love for you to offer your services in our salon!  It is currently open twice per month, but we would love to offer it once per week!  Or, if you have a connection with a business that would like to donate salon quality hair products, we are always grateful for those, too!  
If you have any specialized skill or interest, such as cleaning, maintenance, organizing, or clerical – please reach out to us. We would love to be able to bless the lives of so many more people, and you could help us do just that. If you are interested in helping please fill out a volunteer application.

Volunteer Appreciation Events

Pictures from the Bloomington Pop-Up Pantry Volunteer Appreciation Event:

Pictures from the Brainerd Pop-Up Pantry Volunteer Appreciation Event:

Pictures from the Mondovi Pop-Up Pantry Volunteer Appreciation Event:

Volunteer Pictures

Pictures from the Amery Pop-Up Pantry Site Visit:

Pictures from the Hartford Pop-Up Pantry Site Visit:

Ruby's Pantry Annual Conference

Thanks to all who attended the Ruby's Pantry Annual Conference - It was a huge success! The following is a picture of some of the volunteers who attended.

The main topic of conversation at the conference was the upcoming new website.


Ruby's New Development

Exciting new developments at the North Branch Warehouse! Fueling the new tanks for the first time at the warehouse. "Thank you to the city of North Branch for volunteering the work to move the block for the fuel tanks!”


Ruby's Ice Cream Drop

The following are a few pictures of the ice cream drop that was held at the Wisconsin Rapids Pop-Up Pantry.

Volunteer Shout Out

A Shout Out to Joyce Highstrom and Diane Norman who assisted Patricia Hurd at the Connect and Care Expo where Ruby's Food Shelf hosted a table. They made some community connections and gained a new volunteer. Thank you, Joyce and Diane!

A second Shout Out to Brody Parkin from the New Richmond Pop-Up Pantry. Thank you, Brody!

A third Shout Out of Thanks to the East Balsam Baptist Church Youth Group who volunteered at Ruby's Retreat in Luck, WI.

On November, 20th, a group of youth and adult volunteers from the East Balsam Baptist Church in Balsam Lake, WI spent a few of their evening hours volunteering at the Ruby’s Retreat & Well Care Center in Luck, WI. They had an opportunity to tour the facility and learn about the history and mission of Ruby’s Heart. Then, they split into teams and completed various tasks; from deep cleaning and organizing the on-site salon, to vacuuming and dusting the common spaces, to organizing and shelving donated clinical items, to preparing an office space for a new addition to our clinical offerings. They were very courteous, hard-working, and friendly. We were so blessed to have them with us!

Christmas Wishes from the Staff at Ruby's Heart

"Merry Christmas to all the volunteer’s in the Ruby’s Pantry family! 
My wish this year is that you let the Spirit of Love fill you hearts and homes in this loveliest of seasons, and May Jesus be the reason for this season. Merry Christmas."
Accounting Assistant

"I wish you and your families all the best during this Holiday Season."
Administrative Coordinator

"Christmas Blessing"
Co-Executive Director

"Wishing you all a blessed Christmas full of the great joy the birth of Jesus has given us. A heartfelt thank you for all that you do throughout the year being Jesus in the flesh. You are a difference maker! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,"
Distribution Center Manager of Waupaca Warehouse

"We would like to wish you a wonderful Christmas Season and express how grateful we are for your tremendous dedication and kindness in helping to serve our Guests at all of our sites! You are truly a blessing to all! Thank you so much Again!"
Food Sourcing Director

"I personally want to thank you all for volunteering your time to Ruby’s mission. We look forward to a partnership with you in 2020, I really appreciate all your efforts towards Ruby’s amazing mission of feeding peoples body and soul. God Bless you.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"
Health and Safety Coordinator

"This Christmas CELEBRATE with those you love, REMEMBER those in heaven above, and APPRECIATE the gift of God’s unconditional love."
Human Resources & Business Director

"Thanking God for all of YOU & wishing you his abundant blessings this holiday season."
Marketing Specialist

"It’s truly moving to be at site and witness the joy, warmth and determination of all our volunteers to enrich the lives of others. Thank you, volunteers, and may you have a wonderful and blessed holiday season and New Year!"
Office Assistant

"'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.' Luke 2:11. Merry Christmas."
Program Coordinator

"May the Christmas season fill your home with joy, your heart with love and your life with laughter. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and looking forward to serving with you in 2020."

"As I reflect on our year at Ruby’s Pantry, I’m thankful you’ve been a part of it. Volunteers do not donate their time and energy for the fame or popularity. They want nothing in return. Volunteers are the best people in this world, and you are one of them! I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a season filled with joy, happiness and peace. Thank you for volunteering. God Bless."
Registration & Finance Coordinator

"'May the Lord, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand-fold more than you are and bless you, just as He has promised you!' Deuteronomy 1:11 (NASB) Thank you for who you are - You're amazing! Have a blessed Christmas and bountiful New Year!"
Software & Technology

"To all the volunteers I wish you a blessed and merry Christmas! Thank you for all you do!"
Warehouse Shipping & Receiving Manager for North Branch and Waupaca