By Conrad Dudderar
A downtown Yukon service ministry has seen need increase two-fold over the past year.
“Some people would say we’re ‘doing great’ and our ‘business is booming’,” Yukon Sharing Director Missy King said. “But we’re not a business that you want to be booming.”
Yukon Sharing provides food, clothing, household goods, and other necessary services to people who meet income guidelines.
“We provided over 8,000 services in 2022; it’s more than doubled,” King said. “We paid rent and utilities for 52 families, totaling $30,000.
“We’re serving between 600-700 people a month now. Before, 300-350 was pretty much a ‘normal’ month. It’s just gotten worse and worse, and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits go back to normal this month.”
The busiest month last year was December when the Yukon non-profit served 1,682 people. That total included 318 Yukon students who received holiday backpacks and 227 Christmas food basket recipients.
Eligible residents can come to Yukon Sharing, 4 N Sixth, once a month to receive food and once every 60 days to get clothes.
The organization serves those who live in the Yukon school district, specifically the 73099, 73085 and 73127 zip codes.
With all food banks now facing the challenge of keeping shelves stocked, Yukon Sharing especially needs eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options.
“We have wonderful people who bring donations, but we are just going through food,” King pointed out. “We have meat and canned goods, but the produce goes out so fast.
“The need is just continuing to grow. I keep thinking we’re going to get to a point where it slows down. We haven’t gotten there yet.”
Yukon Sharing does receive a Friday retail delivery that includes produce and bakery goods from Walmart, but that doesn’t last long. Some produce also comes from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
PAY BILLS OR EAT?
The ministry previously received federal grant funds to pay clients’ rent and utilities for one month and is seeking a new grant.
“We have people coming in who are faced with either paying their electric or gas bill or buying food,” King said. “We’re seeing some huge utility bills.
“We work really closely with the schools to keep kids in their home, and lights and heat on.”
The Yukon Sharing office, just north of Main Street, is open from noon to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Yukon Sharing was founded in 1987 with a vision to offer everyone who can benefit and “hand up” and not a “handout.”
Yukon Sharing board officers are President Betty Corn, Vice President Pam Shelton, Secretary Kayleigh Ferguson, and Treasurer Stacey Gaylord.
Other board members are State Rep. Rhonda Baker, Tammy McKee, D’Lynne McDaniel, Jay Emory, Christy Stanley, Scott Schuermann, Jim Poe, and Christine Sorrels.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization, with three to four needed during operating hours. To help or otherwise contribute, call Yukon Sharing at (405) 354-9456.