Ruby Dyck

Warman resident Ruby Dyck’s life encompasses themes of giving, growing and promoting lasting change.

Ruby recently made a generous donation of $200,000 to the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, as well as a $100,000 donation to the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre’s Plant Possibility campaign.

The Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre will continue to serve clientele within a 50 kilometer radius of Saskatoon and be the distribution centre for the 36 food banks across the province from its new location.

Ruby’s early years growing up were on a small family farm many miles from a rural country school. After the blizzard of 1956 roads were impassable for weeks. Travel across country with a team of horses and a caboose was not an option. The horses sank to their bellies in mile high drifts.

Her folks made the decision to move into town. Regular school attendance and access to education were motivating factors. Ruby’s father continued to commute to the farm until age 71.

Ruby met her late husband, Richard, in Grade 3 and they became high school sweethearts.

When the opportunity arose for Richard to purchase his own family’s dairy and grain farm, Ruby gave up her career as an elementary school teacher to work alongside Richard full-time. Running the farm was a 24/7 operation and demanded a strong work-ethic. The couple made a great team, all while raising two busy daughters.

A changing environment and narrower profit margins made it a necessity to expand their farm operations many times. They hosted school tours, international delegates, and various members of the National Holstein Association.

Family time during seeding and harvest was limited to tailgate meals, along with employees. The girls spent a lot of time with their father in the dairy barn, helping with age-appropriate tasks. They were actively involved in the local 4H dairy club, as well as school and church activities, skating and music lessons.

Farming was Richard’s passion and that never wavered. Ruby’s forte was landscape design, trees, shrubs, flora and fauna. Their large vegetable garden grew plenty of bounty to share with friends and family. Now retired, Ruby still gardens in her patio pots and is a regular at the local farmers’ market. She cherishes the time spent with her grandchildren and proudly watches as they enter education and nursing careers.

Ruby realizes that food, shelter and clothing are critical basic rights and is happy that the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre exists. She is impressed by the numerous additional programs the organization offers in the areas of workplace experience and training, food literacy and safety, and the Garden Patch. Ruby likens it to the phrase “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”

Ruby hopes that one day she will see more city lawns converted into garden space, as a way to promote sustainability and encourage spending time together as a family, while enjoying the fruits of their own labour.

Ruby was particularly troubled by the statistic that 41% of Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre users are children and was reminded of an experience she had in the late 1960s. At the time she was new to the teaching profession. During one lunch hour she discovered a boy’s lunch kit contained a single can of spam.

Ruby kindly let the class know that a classmate had forgotten his lunch and, while handing him her own sandwich, suggested that if others had extra, they share.

She remembers the response being overwhelming with no judgment, just care. This experience stayed with her and underscored her belief that we need a strong sense of community to be successful.

When asked what she would tell others about the importance of philanthropy and getting involved in campaigns like this one, Ruby states: “Open your heart and give what you’re able to those less fortunate. If you have enough, please share.”