Ruby’s Pantry of Bemidji Wins Local Touchstone Energy Community Award
Beltrami Electric Cooperative has selected Ruby’s Pantry of Bemidji as the winner of the local 2018 Touchstone Energy Community Award from a pool of excellent and worthy nominations, according to Beltrami Electric’s Marketing/Communications Specialist, Angela Lyseng.
Beltrami Electric sought candidates for the Touchstone Energy Community Award, which recognizes organizations for outstanding contributions to the local community. Ruby’s Pantry of Bemidji was nominated by Gary Brooks of Blackduck. The recognition comes with a $500 cash award and an engraved Touchstone Energy Community Award plaque signifying the organization’s commitment to community.
Ruby’s Pantry of Bemidji is a faith-based organization, sponsored locally by Mt. Zion Church. Since August 2017, they have held a “pop-up pantry” the third Wednesday of every month. Ruby’s Pantry of Bemidji is currently the largest of all the pop-up pantry sites, serving nearly 400 households each month. There are no income or resident limits/requirements to receive food from Ruby’s Pantry. The only restriction is one share per household, so that they can reach as many households as possible. Guests are asked to pay a $20 cash donation per share, and in return, they receive items such as meat, dairy, frozen vegetables, bread, paper products and more.
“This program is designed as a hand-up, not a hand-out,” said Steve Thompson, pastor of Mt. Zion Church. “It helps families stretch their grocery dollar.”
The Ruby’s Pantry of Bemidji application will be submitted for consideration to the statewide Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award committee. The statewide award recipient will be selected from numerous local award winners throughout Minnesota and the overall winner will receive $1,000 toward a community cause of choice. It will be presented in February 2019 during the Minnesota Rural Electric Association’s annual meeting in St. Paul.