By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Yukon’s emergency food cupboard is still open.
While many Yukon-area residents are confined to their homes to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Manna Pantry continues its mission to feed the hungry.
“The Regional Food Bank is considered essential, and as a partner agency, we are essential as well,” Manna Pantry director Sherri Rogers said.
The Manna Pantry, 123 S Sixth, is a temporary, emergency food pantry serving Yukon and Piedmont.
People can come to the Manna Pantry seven times each week to receive food. Hours of operation remain the same:
Sunday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. and 6-7 p.m., Thursday from 6 p.m. 7 p.m., and Friday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“We’re open our regular hours,” Rogers said. “We are asking people to stay in their vehicles and line up outside the pantry when they come. Our volunteers will bring their groceries out to them.”
With more local citizens jobless after businesses closed due to COVID-19, the pantry has seen an increase in people needing help – with dozens of new clients in the last few weeks.
“In March, we served 350 families with 628 adults and 354 children,” Rogers said. “Eighty-three of the families were new.”
The numbers were up considerably from February, when Manna Pantry served 270 families with 547 adults and 343 children. Forty-five of those families were new.
Since older residents and those with health issues are at higher risk, the Manna Pantry is offering a new service.
“If you know somebody 65 or over who needs food but can’t get out, call us and we can deliver them food,” Rogers said.
Compassionate Hands, another local non-profit agency, has offered Manna Pantry the use its van and a volunteer driver to help with food deliveries. Compassionate Hands’ accessible Care-a-Van program has been suspended for several weeks.
“We are excited to be able to utilize our van this way,” Compassionate Hands’ director Joanne Riley. “We are still assisting people paying their rent and utilities and with necessary prescriptions, and personal and baby items.”
Meanwhile, the Manna Pantry needs food donations – especially tuna, canned fruit, spaghetti sauce, and canned beans.
Current social distancing restrictions and shelter-in-place orders have impacted the Yukon food cupboard is another way.
“I’ve lost 30 volunteers in the last two weeks,” Rogers said. “Most of our volunteers are older and so they are unable to come in to help right now.”
Manna Pantry is led by a 10-member board of directors: Sherri Rogers, director; Patty Clouse, secretary; Karen Yates, treasurer, Kent Mathers, Dustin Rogers, Scott Kinney, Tom Arnould, Vicki McKee, Ramona Ritchie, and Jay Steagall.
To donate food, offer to volunteer or request delivery, call the Manna Pantry office at 265-0193.