© 2024 WXPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ruby’s Pantry in Rhinelander sees high demand as grocery prices remain high


In counties in Northern Wisconsin and the U.P., anywhere from 7 to 14% of the population is considered food insecure, according to Feeding America.

Many government assistance programs that started or increased during the height of the pandemic are now gone.

The situation for many people has been made harder by the rising cost of groceries.

In 2022, grocery prices increased 11.4 percent.

While the rate of price increases has slowed, it’s still rising. According to the USDA, all food prices are predicted to increase 2.5 percent this year. This includes groceries and eating out.

On top of all that, the lack of snow this winter hit the Northwoods economy hard.

Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Rod Ankrom says the need for food is noticeable in the community. Calvary hosts Ruby’s Pantry once a month at the National Guard Armory in Rhinelander.

“I can say safely that we have seen a definite increase in the last few months, especially since the beginning of the year,” said Ankrom.

For $25, people can get a box full of food that’s valued at $150 to $300. There’s no income requirements or paperwork to fill out.

Lately, Ruby’s Pantry has been handing out 300 to 400 boxes each month and there’s still a need for more.

“The last time we saw this kind of need was a short burst right after the COVID restrictions came about. But other than that, it's been a very long time,” said Ankrom. “This is really more of a recent boost these last four or five months, although even at the end of last calendar year we did see the number starting to rise and we had very little food leftover.”

Ankrom says people come from as far as the U.P. for Ruby’s Pantry. People have found it’s a good way to supplement their groceries.

“We're trying to meet a need and trying to serve other people, love them through food you might say. It's our way of loving people and loving God with no strings attached. We just want to be able to do this ministry, to really help people in this community, really, in a very practical sort of way,” said Ankrom.

It’s held on the Third Tuesday of every month from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. The next one is May 21st. The National Guard Armory is located at 1136 Adams Way, Rhinelander.

Cars will line up the street. Ankrom says people should bring boxes they can exchange and make sure there is space in the trunk for volunteers to load the food box. He also encourages patience as it can sometimes take hours to get through the line.

You can stay up to date with the Ruby’s Pantry Facebook page.

Ankrom says they are also always looking for volunteers. You can get involved by calling Calvary Baptist Church at (715) 362-4792.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
Up North Updates
* indicates required
Related Content