By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Yukon’s emergency food cupboard started in 1975 when Peggy Long, then a Canadian County social worker, approached her pastor about what could be done to help feed Yukon’s hungry.
That inquiry would lead to the opening of a free food store inside a closet in the front hall of Resurrection Lutheran Church, 675 W Vandament.
And that’s how it became known as the “Manna Pantry.”
In its early years, the pantry was stocked with food donations from church members, local stores and the Salvation Army. Hungry residents knew they could call or come by when the church was open to receive free food when they needed it, according to Long.
Two moves and 4-1/2 decades later, the pantry will celebrate a milestone this Saturday in downtown Yukon.
A 45th anniversary celebration is set 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Manna Pantry, 123 S Sixth. Supporters can stop by or drive through during the come-and-go event.
Manna Pantry Director Sherri Rogers invites the public to “join us as we celebrate 45 years of helping people with food insecurities.”
The fête will feature cupcakes and food boxes provided by the Regional Food Bank. Attendees are encouraged to bring donations to help nourish Yukon-area residents.
284 FAMILIES IN SEPTEMBER
The need for Manna Pantry’s service continues to grow. In September, the pantry served 284 families including 523 adults and 294 children. Some 247 families were served in August.
For the past 20 years, the pantry has occupied a 1,000-square-foot converted home at the southeast corner of Sixth and Maple.
“We need a place two-and-a-half times the size,” Rogers said.
Manna Pantry recipients from Yukon and Piedmont can come twice each month to receive food. Nobody is turned away if they’re hungry.
Regular 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.
Manna Pantry has some 200 volunteers and relies heavily on donations from the Regional Food Bank, church and civic groups and individuals.
To volunteer or otherwise contribute, call 265-0193 or visit www.mannapantryyukon.org