By Conrad Dudderar
Generous Christmas giving and an increase in hungry clients have Yukon’s emergency food pantry busting at the seams.
So much so that the Manna Pantry, 123 S 6th, has had to utilize space across the street in its former location just to store food stuffs.
Schools, churches and civic groups have helped fill Manna Pantry’s shelves with recent holiday food drives.
The pantry has received 7,500 pounds of donated food just since Nov. 1. Major contributors have been the Regional Book Bank’s “Students Against Hunger” drive and the Boy Scouts’ “Scouting for Food” drive.
“We’ve picked up a lot of food from food drives,” said Sherri Rogers, Manna Pantry’s board president. “We don’t have enough room here so we’re having to use space at First Christian Church, where Manna Pantry used to be.”
Volunteer Tammy McKee said the need for Manna Pantry’s services continues to grow among hungry Yukon-area residents.
“We’re serving over 1,200 a month and averaging 900 volunteer hours a month,” McKee said. “We need a bigger facility. Our current location is too small for our clients, who have to wait outside when they come.
“We’re getting so many food donations we don’t have room to store it. We even don’t have enough room for all our volunteers.”
For the past couple decades, Manna Pantry has been housed inside a converted 1,000-square-foot house on the northeast corner of Sixth and Maple. Pantry officials having been seeking a place in downtown Yukon that’s at least 2,500 square feet.
Volunteer Jo Kamphaus cited the public’s generosity that helps Manna Pantry serve those who need food to nourish their souls.
“This community is awesome,” Kamphaus said. “They support us.”
Manna Pantry now has about 250 volunteers – and still more are being recruited.
“We’re now open every day except Saturday and have 28 retail pickups a week so we can always use help,” Rogers said.
Manna Pantry partners with several local grocery stores and restaurants to receive donations of excess food.
“We really could use volunteers who can come up Thursdays,” Rogers said.
That day is when the Regional Food Bank drops off a semi-truckload of food – ranging between 2,500-4,000 pounds.
District 43 State Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, has helped coordinate groups (which has included the Yukon Fire Department) to help unload.
“Jay has been awesome,” Rogers said.
Anyone interested in volunteering should call 476-2924.
Manna Pantry gave out about 250 turkeys for Thanksgiving and has since received more donations of both turkeys and hams for Christmas meals.
The Manna Pantry serves people who live in Yukon and Piedmont residents that meet federal guidelines.
Hours are: Sunday from 6-7 p.m., Monday from 6-7 p.m., Tuesday from 2-3 p.m., Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. and 6-7 p.m., Thursday from 6-7 p.m., and Friday from 6-7 p.m.
Yukon’s food cupboard is run entirely by volunteers.
Along with President Rogers, the board is comprised of Vice President Kent Mathers, Treasurer Karen Yates, Secretary Patty Clause, Tom Arnould, Vicki McKee, Dustin Rogers, Ramona Ritchie, and Rep. Steagall.
Learn more by calling 265-0193 or visiting http://www.mannapantryyukon.org