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Sales of Ruthie’s Best Butterscotch Sauce To Benefit Phoebe Cancer Patients

Albany, GA | December 5, 2023 – What started as a tasty hobby for former Albany television personality Ruthie Garner morphed into a way to thank caregivers providing lifesaving care for her son and has since turned into a growing business enterprise that will benefit patients at the Phoebe Cancer Center.

For years, Ruthie has made a delicious butterscotch sauce.  “I came across a few different recipes and tweaked them to make it my own.  I would just give it to friends and take it to family.  They liked it so much that before gatherings they would say, ‘you can’t come unless you bring your sauce,’” Ruthie said.

Ruthie and her husband Mike are both cancer survivors.  Seven years ago, their son Stephen also had an especially tough cancer battle.  After receiving care at Phoebe, Stephen spent four months at a hospital in Atlanta undergoing bone marrow transplants.

“We were there four or five days a week,” Ruthie said.  “So, I would just take my sauce to the nurses’ station and put it in the doctors’ lounge just as a thank-you gift.  Well, they got used to it and started asking where they could buy it.”

At the urging of her family, Ruthie began looking into options to mass produce her secret sauce.  After a delay because of COVID, she began working with a company from North Carolina, but they could never get the recipe exactly right.  That’s when a serendipitous gift put Ruthie on the path to business success.

One day, she stopped by the home of her friend Laurie Jo Bennett, known for her line of pepper jellies and salsas.  “She wasn’t home, but I left two Tupperware containers of sauce.  A couple of hours later, she texted me a picture of the empty containers and said she’d eaten it all herself,” Ruthie said.

Laurie Jo connected Ruthie with the company she works with, Fourth & Cherry Foods, which focuses on making Georgia products from handcrafted recipes in their small-scale kitchen in Ocilla.  Ruthie says it was a perfect match, and she was able to launch sales of Ruthie’s Best Butterscotch Sauce at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie in October 2021.  Her sauce was a finalist for a 2022 Flavor of Georgia Award, and it is now available in more than three dozen stores from New York to Texas, as well as on the Fourth & Cherry Foods website.

“I’ll do tastings at new stores, and I give people a handout explaining the different ways you can use the sauce along with my story of how it got started,” Ruthie said.

Now that the business is established and starting to grow, she wants to use it to help other families dealing with cancer.  “Cancer affects the whole family in ways that most people don’t think about.  There are so many expenses that are beyond the medical expenses,” she said.

Ruthie plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Ruthie’s Best Butterscotch Sauce to the Phoebe Cancer Center’s Cancer Crisis Fund as a way to thank Phoebe for the care provided to the Garner family and to help southwest Georgia cancer patients.

“All three of us were taken very good care of at Phoebe, and I just want to give back,” she said.  “Because Phoebe is a regional hospital, a lot of people travel here for cancer care.  There’s gas expense.  There’s food expense.  Patients may have to pay for babysitters or to board their pets.  There are so many other expenses, and I would love to help people with those costs.”

Recently, the gift shop in Phoebe’s main hospital became the latest store to sell Ruthie’s Best.  Ruthie was there Tuesday to meet shoppers and share ways to use her sauce.  Those customers will notice a slogan printed on the label of each jar – “Handcrafted for Hope” – that has special meaning for Ruthie.

“You have to have hope,” she said.  “I was able to use the butterscotch sauce to give back and say ‘thank you’ when Stephen was going through his cancer detour.  Hopefully, by sharing it and our story with a wider audience, it will bring hope to other people.”

The Garner family will share their stories of survival as the honorary tree lighters at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s annual Lights of Love ceremony which also raises money to support the Phoebe Cancer Center.  Donations can be made at  The ceremony will be held on Tuesday, December 12 at 7 p.m. on Phoebe’s main campus.