By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Attendees at Yukon’s second annual Route 66 car cruise can bring peanut butter and jelly, soup and toilet paper – and even cuddle with cute puppies – all for some great causes.
Four local non-profits will benefit from Yukon’s second annual “Cruise-In for a Cause” set 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17. The event is a passive leisure, open cruise on Yukon’s iconic Route 66.
The 2020 Cruise-In for a Cause will support: Compassionate Hands, Inc., Pets & People Humane Society, Yukon Manna Pantry, and Yukon Sharing Ministry.
These groups are helping promote the popular Route 66 cruise and will have advocacy booths near Fourth and Main to share information about services they provide.
Each participating non-profit also will have a “drive” for food and/or needed products that people can bring that evening.
Compassionate Hands, a ministry that serves people in temporary crisis, will ask people to help fill its accessible Care-A-Van with packages of toilet paper.
Their theme is “Roll Out the Help for Compassionate Hands.”
“We’re having a toilet paper drive to help people in Yukon who can’t afford the ‘basic necessities’ and personal hygiene products,” Director Joanne Riley said. “We continually give out items like toilet paper, shampoo and diapers – things that many of us take for granted each day.
“All donations we receive stay right here in Yukon. This is a way to help your neighbor.”
Compassionate Hands, along with Manna Pantry and Yukon Sharing, are returning to participate in the car cruise after benefiting from the inaugural event in September 2019.
“This is an important event for Yukon in a time when we’ve been denied a lot of public events,” Riley said. “This will be a great one with people cruising Route 66 in their vehicles.”
Main Street will not be blocked to through traffic, and participation in Yukon’s Cruise-in for a Cause is free of cost.
“The cruise is open to any street-legal vehicle – it doesn’t have to be a hot rod, classic or muscle car,” Yukon Main Street Director Vicki Davis said. “Although we do certainly want to have all of those more nostalgic and ‘cool’ cars and vehicles, we want this to be an experience for anybody who just enjoys the culture of iconic Route 66.”
A limited number of prime “Park and Show” spaces may be reserved for $25 each. Fifty percent of each registration is donated to the participant’s cause of choice.
HUG A PUPPY
A new help cause for the Sept. 17th cruise is Pets & People Humane Society, whose theme is “Can You Show Me Some Love?”
“This is the first time for us to participate in this event and we’re super-excited to be part of it,” Pets & People Executive Director Amy Young said. “We really appreciate the community’s support.”
The organization is asking attendees to bring donations of canned dog and cat food.
“Canned food is easier on some pets’ stomachs, particularly those who are malnourished, older or have certain medical conditions,” Young explained. “And some dogs have teeth that are in terrible shape.”
While Pets & People especially likes donations of Friskies for cats and Purina for dogs, any brand of pet food is welcome.
Pets & People’s Cruise-in for a Cause booth will allow visitors to get up close and personal with some prized pooches.
“We will have foster dogs available for people to meet and greet,” Young said. “We’ll also have a ‘cuddle puppies play pen’. It will be $5 for five minutes of cuddle time.”
Yukon Sharing Director Missy King hopes cruise registrants choose her organization as their cause of choice.
Yukon Sharing’s theme is “Soup for the Soul” as people are encouraged to bring cans of soup.
“This is a great cause and a great fundraiser,” King said. “This gets us out in the public more and lets the community see what we do so we can help more people who really need it.
“We want to let people know that we’ve been open through the pandemic. We always welcome donations of clothes and food, especially since we’re helping more people now. We’ve had 21 new families already this month.”
GOOD ‘OL PB&J
Also returning for the second annual Route 66 cruise will be Yukon’s Manna Pantry, the community’s emergency food cupboard.
Manna Pantry’s theme is “Fill Their Bellies with Peanut Butter and Jelly.”
“We are bringing our van and gathering up jars of peanut butter and jelly,” Manna Pantry Board Member Vicki McKee said. “People can bring donations and find out about volunteer opportunities that we have.”
Manna Pantry’s new van is used to pick up food from local retailers and deliver to older and disabled clients.
McKee is glad the pantry will be back at the Route 66 cruise for a second year, raising awareness about how this charitable agency feeds the hungry.
“We love being part of Yukon and have been a staple in this community for over 45 years,” she said. “We’re now serving 250-300 clients a month, so the need is increasing.
“We didn’t have the post office food drive this year, so that set us back as far as food donations.”
The Sept. 17th Route 66 car cruise is presented by Yukon’s Best Main Street program and the non-profit Yukon 66 Main Street Association.
Donations may be made to the cause-of-choice through a link on the event Facebook page, @Yukon66MainStreet.
There also will be donation stations on cruise night for people to contribute directly to the four non-profit causes.
For more information, visit http://www.yukonok.gov or call (405) 350-5999.