I have been relatively silent all summer with our family activities, weddings, graduations and trying to catch a little sunshine. I apologize if you have missed the emails and online commentaries. However, today I am writing you to share my joys and my burdens. Let’s start with the joys.
I am thankful for what God has done in my life and how He has blessed us all these years. Lonna and I will be celebrating our 51st wedding anniversary on September 9th. She is the love of my life and God has protected our marriage as we have prayed for Him to surround us with a mighty hedge that can only come from His hand. We have four wonderful daughters, three sons in law who we adore and eight grandchildren who inspire us with their individualism, their ingenuity and their commitment to Christ. We are blessed beyond measure with generational faith passed on from Lonna’s family and mine, including the great heritage of my grandmother, Ruby, who taught me that “people are worth more than things” and that “God is worth more to us than anything this world has to offer.” Today I wish I could sit down and talk to her, share my heart and seek her faithful wisdom. But I can’t, so let me share my heart with you.
Home and Away Ministries is going through an identity change. It will be known as Ruby’s Heart as we draw closer to our roots and purpose. All of our ministries will have an identity with a new Ruby’s logo that will connect our ministries so people will be able to identify who we are and that we are one. The logos will be all over the place by the end of September. However, Ruby’s Pantry is still Ruby’s Pantry.
Now let me share some burdens. Last December I put out an Emergency Gram asking for donations for purchasing new trucks and trailers because our trucks and trailers were worn out. Almost 100 people responded with donations of around $4,000. We are truly so thankful for those gifts, as I know they are sacrificial. The problem is that the costs of “new to us” used trucks are about $30,000 each and “new to us” used trailers approach around $20,000 each. New trucks are about $140,000 and new reefer trailers are around $70,000. We had 14 trucks; however, last year we scrapped one because the engine blew after we had put two new rear ends in it. This year another truck died due to a bad engine and is not worth fixing. So, we are now down to 12 trucks. We had 15 road trailers but had to scrap four of them so we are down to 11 trailers. The rule of thumb for an organization like ours is that you should have two trailers for each semi-tractor. We have only half as much as we should and are short 11 trailers for the trucks that we have operational. Well, the past three weeks have only added to our crisis.
Three weeks ago Saturday one of our lowest mileage trucks snapped a drive shaft on its way to a Pop-Up Pantry. Fortunately, it was close to a shop; however, we had to send another truck to pick up the trailer and head to the Pop-Up Pantry. The repair bill was $5,200.
The following Monday another truck snapped a driveshaft in Minneapolis picking up food. It had to be towed to our repair shop in Frederic, WI and a driveshaft made for it, which was expensive. That truck was down for over a week. If you happen to have truck experience, you may be thinking poor maintenance is the problem for these two repairs. That’s what I thought too until I found out there were no grease fittings on the drive shafts.
That same week we had another truck with injector problems in the shop in Waupaca and that bill was also $5,200.
Then the best truck we had blew out a rear end and we had to have it replaced. While it was in the shop in Frederic we asked them to figure out why it was not running as powerful as it should be. They couldn’t figure it out and said we should bring it to a shop in Minneapolis. The reason we use the smaller shops in Frederic and Waupaca is because their shop rate is $70 an hour. The large shops and dealer shops are $142 an hour. So, we had about $3,500 invested in the rear end and off to Minneapolis to a large shop. They diagnosed it and repaired it for $4,200. However, as they were test driving it, they discovered it did not fix the problem. So, they brought it back into the shop and estimated that the cost to repair the engine (cups?) for the injectors and add another injector would be $15,000 more plus another $3,100 for a new head. We are forced to leave the truck sit because we do not have money to fix it, although we must pay for the rear end and the $4,200 for the diagnosis. That total repair is over $25,000!!!
We had five trucks down in one week and the total cost of repairs for all of them is somewhere over $40,000. As of Friday, we still have four trucks down. We must have another truck running by Tuesday or we will need to rent a truck to get to the Pop-Up Pantries. We need newer trucks with lower mileage. I think all of our trucks but one has 1,000,000 miles or more. The truck with the huge repair bill has 1,400,000 miles.
The bottom line is that we truly have a crisis that is going to take a lot of money to fix. It is going to take at least $300,000 to replace 10 trucks at $30,000 each and another $200,000 to add 10 used reefer trailers. As my grandfather used to say, “Uffda!” But before we get too discouraged, we must remember that God is the author and the finisher of our faith and he is also the author and finisher of our needs. Our needs have been created because we are doing the Lord’s work by bringing 14,000,000 pounds of food to over 134,000 families last year. Therefore, He is the author of our need! I truly never thought of ever doing anything like we do today … but God did. He called me, 66 Pop-Up Pantry churches, 40 staff and over 12,000 volunteers to do this and here we are … together … following “the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night” believing God for each step of the way. Even in the darkest hours we know that God is the finisher of our need and we believe that He will provide because … God is faithful and the scriptures say so!
I have said all of that to say … please pray for our need. I know that most of you who receive this are unable to help us financially. I have been there. I understand how difficult it is to even provide for self and family. It embarrasses me to even ask. I only personally know one person here on earth who has too much money. The rest of us are “fellow strugglers.” However, if God speaks to you to help financially, this would be the perfect time to do so. We will be so thankful and grateful for your generosity. You may donate online at https://rubyspantry.org/product/donate-online/ or send a check to Ruby’s Pantry, 5833 Pecan Street, North Branch, MN 55056.
In His Time,
Lyn Sahr Founder
P.S. Friends of Ruby’s, thank you for all you do with over 150,000 hours of volunteer time last year! What a blessing you are to God’s people.