By Carol Mowdy Bond
Yukon Sharing Ministry, 4 North 6th Street, is open as usual, but operating a bit differently.
Due to COVID-19, the doors are locked. So, clients may not access clothing, shoes, and household goods at the moment. But food is still available.
Executive director Missy King says, “During the pandemic, people are driving up, and they stay in their cars. And we load two weeks of food into their cars. We badly need canned vegetables, canned fruits, and canned soups right now. We haven’t been able to order these items from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.”
“And for people who are home cleaning out their closets and need a place to donate clothing, shoes, and household items, we’ll gladly take them.”
Yukon Sharing gets food from the food bank. But the food bank is not receiving as many donations. And due to high demand, because so many people are unemployed, the food bank is very low on canned goods.
“What the food bank doesn’t have, we buy,” says King. “We have a United way grant, and we get monetary donations from people. But we don’t like to go into grocery stores and clean out their shelves, because we know shoppers also need food. So, we currently need people to donate canned goods to our ministry.”
“Having to come here is hard enough. So, we try to treat everyone with dignity, understanding, and kindness. This March we had the largest number of new clients because so many people are out of work. And this April, the number of our new clients was larger than the number of our regular clients,” says King.
Under normal circumstances, people can go into the facility and choose clothing, shoes, household goods, and other items they need. The staff makes sure all clothing is clean and in good condition. Any items they can’t use are donated to other charities.
King says, “Our overall goal is to be here and help Yukon citizens as much as we can. But right now our doors will be locked until at least June
1st so we don’t spread the virus. Then we’ll see what happens.”
King hopes to open the doors this summer, so clients may choose summer clothing and shoes.
Prior to the pandemic, Yukon Sharing worked very closely with the Yukon Public School district, especially school counselors. Counselors know which of their students need food and clothing. At the present, counselors do not have access to those students. But they are “maintaining contact with families they know need help, and we are helping them get food to those families,” says King.
“We sometimes deliver to residents of Nina Willingham Senior Housing, and others who need food assistance, but can’t get to us,” says King.
These days, King is keeping a lot of snacks on the shelves, to help families with children at home, because children are big snackers.
The ministry has freezers and refrigerators, and keeps them stocked with meat and perishables. At present, they are also able to access a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.
“During the pandemic, people have been calling and asking what we need, so they can donate,” says King. “That’s been a huge help.”
“People may come to us once a month. Our hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4 p.m., plus the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.,” says King.
“We primarily serve those in the Yukon Public School district, which includes those in the 73099, 73085, and 73127 zip codes.”
Yukon Sharing started in 1987 by people who wanted to help others in the Yukon area.
The ministry isn’t part of a church or other organization. They rely on donations and volunteers to keep the doors open.