By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Local Girl Scouts helped stock the shelves at Yukon’s emergency food cupboard during a recent service project.
Girl Scout Cadettes (sixth, seventh and eighth graders) from Troop 358 collected 2,873 pounds of food as part of a “drive-through” food drive on Friday, July 31 at the Yukon Manna Pantry, 123 S 6th.
Five members are working on their Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.
Choosing to partner with the Manna Pantry, the girls created a cookbook based on the most common items donated to a food pantry.
The cookbook is available to Manna Pantry’s clients, who come from the Yukon and Piedmont areas.
“Our troop has been volunteering there for the last several months to get an idea about what kind of service the Manna Pantry is, what they’re in need of and what they’re looking for,” troop leader Jenny Matthews said.
So, the Troop 358 Cadettes decided to host a food drive to create awareness of their cookbook – and to bring food into the pantry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our whole troop helped spread the word,” Matthews said.
Girl Scout Troop 358’s large contribution couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Before we even started Friday night, I had 1,200 pounds,” Yukon Manna Pantry director Sherri Rogers said.
“The drive-through part was for just an hour, but we had donations coming all week. People would say, ‘I can’t be here Friday night, but here’s some food’.”
FILLING THE GAP
The Manna Pantry has seen a drop in food donations due to the current health crisis, which forced the cancellation of its large annual spring food drive organized by Yukon’s mail carriers.
“Not having that post office food drive has really hurt us,” Rogers said. “We usually get between 25,000-30,000 pounds of food.
“Anybody who’d wants to organize a food drive, we’d love to have it.”
Before the pandemic hit this spring, Troop 358’s Cadettes toured the pantry to see what staple items – like beans, rice and macaroni and cheese – are provided to hungry clients.
The girls’ cookbook features simple recipes that use many items found at the local food cupboard.
“They printed 90 copies for us to give to our clients,” Rogers said. “They’re giving us the PDF file if we want to print more.”
Girl Scout Troop 358 has members from Yukon and Mustang.
“We’re very proud of our girls,” said Matthews, who’s been troop leader since the troop was created six years ago. “They do all the work. We just drive them to where they need to go.
“Although they are so young, they’re always willing to make a difference.”
Yukon’s Manna Pantry especially needs these food items: Fruit, vegetables, spaghetti, soup, oatmeal, pancake mix, and syrup.
People can come to the Manna Pantry seven times each week to receive food. Hours of operation 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.
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, volunteer or plan a food drive, call the Manna Pantry office at 265-0193. Learn more at www.mannapantryyukon.org