By Conrad Dudderar
Canadian County’s emergency food bank saw a 57% increase in both families and individuals served during 2022.
Manna Pantry moved early last year to the Together We Center on the Trinity Baptist Church Yukon campus, 620 N Cemetery Road.
“January 18th will be our one-year anniversary here,” said Yukon’s Sherri Rogers, director of Manna Pantry. “It’s hard to believe we’ve already been here almost a year.
“It’s been exciting – and even a little crazy and chaotic at times – but everything has gone well. We’re now able to serve more people who are hungry, not just in Yukon, but across Canadian County.”
A year ago, Manna Pantry headquarters relocated into a 2,000 square-foot space with a warehouse inside the new Together We Center. Other occupants are The Faith Clinic, a free medical clinic; and Woven, a clothes closet.
Now in its 48th year, Manna Pantry previously operated out of considerably smaller sites near Sixth and Maple in downtown Yukon.
“In 2021, we served 2,698 families and 8,534 individuals,” Rogers shared. “In 2022, we served 4,188 families and 13,070 individuals.”
Manna Pantry more than doubled the number of “new clients” since relocating to the Together We Center – from 391 in ‘21 to 801 in ‘22 (a 103% increase).
“We’re now reaching a much bigger area,” Rogers noted. “Most come from Yukon and Mustang, but we also have people from Piedmont, El Reno, Oklahoma City, Union City, Okarche, and Minco.
“We appreciate everybody’s support. The need is still great. Even on a slow night, we have at least 20 families come in.”
The high month in 2022 was November, when 494 families received food.
With such a dramatic spike in need, Manna Pantry welcomes food donations from groups and individuals.
“We always need the ‘staples’,” Rogers said.
“Our food drives and donations always pick up around the holidays, but people are hungry all year long.”
Some 8,985 pounds of food were donated in November, the most of any month in 2022.
Upcoming Manna Pantry benefits will be a 5K run in April and the annual Yukon Mail Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive in May.
“The post office food drive is our largest,” Rogers added. “Last year, that brought in over 30,000 pounds.”
Another primary source of foodstuffs are eight Yukon-area retailers – Sprouts, Aldi, Homeland, Target, Walmart Supercenter, Walmart Neighborhood Market, Crest, and Smart Saver.
Pantry volunteers make 24 retail pickups weekly.
Manna Pantry is now open five days per week – Monday from 5-8 p.m., Tuesday from 3-6 p.m., Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday from 5-8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
“We worked a total of 229 shifts last year,” Rogers said. “We had approximately 916 volunteer hours donated, not including stocking and retail pickups.
“We’re always looking for volunteers.”
Anyone who needs food should bring their current ID and proof of residency.
For more information, call (405) 265-0193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Manna Pantry received an unexpected Christmas present from the Kohl’s “A Community with Heart Program.”
The Canadian County nonprofit earned a $10,000 Kohl’s Care grant, awarded appropriately during the “season of giving.”
“We appreciate the Yukon Kohl’s store associates for nominating us,” Rogers said. “We’ll use these funds to feed people in Yukon and surrounding Canadian County communities.”
Kohl’s has gifted $8 million to nonprofits nationwide to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to family health and wellness.
Kohl’s store teams and leaders identified and nominated nonprofit recipients “near and dear” to their hearts.
The donations are made possible through Kohl’s philanthropic program, Kohls Cares.
This program sells children’s books and toys and donates 100% of the net profit to charitable organizations across the country that improve the health and wellness of families.