By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
With today’s economic uncertainty, many Yukon families will welcome an extra boost during this yuletide season.
Individuals, businesses and organizations are being recruited to spread some Christmas joy by sponsoring a family in need.
That’s right, Yukon Sharing has launched its annual Christmas food basket program.
Yukon Sharing Director Missy King and her volunteers are looking for the public’s help to “keep the holiday spirit alive.”
The Christmas basket distribution will be 8 a.m. to noon this Saturday, Dec. 12 at Yukon Sharing, 4 N 6th (north side of Main Street).
“We will hand out about 200 food baskets again this year,” King said.
Recipients have made appointments to come pick up all the makings for a large holiday dinner.
“Each basket contains a turkey or ham (with beans), stuffing, vegetables, potatoes, eggs, milk, butter, Jello, and cake mix,” King disclosed. “It is enough for a full meal they can prepare.”
A $30 gift will fill one food basket, although King pointed out any amount is welcome.
“That $30 pays for everything except the meat,” she explained. “We’ve had a couple generous businesses step up to help with the meat.”
Recipients coming for Saturday’s food basket distribution will be also able to leave with Christmas trees and decorations. The non-profit Yukon Sharing Ministry provides food, clothing and household goods to eligible people living in the 73099, 73085 and 73127 zip codes.
The need for help has spiked in 2020 due to COVID-19.
“Like other non-profits, we’re struggling to keep up,” King shared. “So, any donation we receive right now is greatly appreciated.”
This November, Yukon Sharing helped 103 families and 290 individuals. That’s a significant increase compared to 65 families and 182 individuals in November 2019. Forty two percent of Yukon Sharing’s recipients last month were new.
“We’re seeing a drastic increase in people who have never had to ask for help before,” King said. “The longer the pandemic drags out, people who have lost jobs exhaust their savings and need help right now.
“Our goal is to make them feel comfortable when they come to us for help, because we know that can be difficult. When they leave here, we want to lift the burden off their shoulders a little bit.”
Yukon Sharing was founded in 1987 with a vision to offer everyone who can benefit a “hand up” – not a “handout.” Besides providing the food, clothing and household goods, the agency receives federal funding to help cover utilities, rent and mortgage payments.
“We’ve paid out $20,000 this year,” King said.
Yukon Sharing’s only other grant comes from the United Way.
“The rest are small donations from the public,” the director noted. “We’re very blessed that Yukon is so generous.”
Regular hours at Yukon Sharing are noon to 4 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. For more information, call 354-9456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.