By Jacob Sturm
The Mustang Times
The Manna Pantry will have a fund-raiser next month for a major project to benefit Canadian County citizens for years to come.
The “Main Event for 2023”, featuring a dinner and live and silent auctions, will be Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Palace Event Center on Banner Road. Auction items will be viewable from 5-6 p.m.
“We’re an emergency food pantry,” Director Sherri Rogers said. “And about a year and a half ago, we used to serve just Yukon or kids who went to Yukon schools.
“But now that we’ve moved out to our new facility, we now serve all of Canadian County.”
That increase of residents eligible for the food pantry benefits have seen the Manna Pantry numbers more than triple since making the move.
Rogers reiterated that point, saying the food pantry has seen more than 500 families each of the past three months.
With that extra need being catered to at the center, the pantry needs a new storage facility.
“What the Main Event is for is we need a storage facility there,” Rogers said. “Our warehouse area is busting at the seams, and to store it somewhere else we have to have it climate controlled.
“So, we’re raising funds to help build a storage facility for the Together We Center.”
The center is located at 620 N Cemetery Road on the Trinity Baptist Church-Yukon campus.
Manna Pantry’s warehouse area has about 300 square feet – and they are running out of room.
September is Hunger Action Month with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
The Manna Pantry also has been in need of cereal, oatmeal and pancake mix on a consistent basis.
“A lot of things are donated,” Rogers said. “I would say probably 80% of the food we have, and of what we get is donated. The biggest food drive is the postal carrier’s food drive in May.
“We collected 25,000 pounds of food in May.”
Donating food on a weekly basis are retailers like Sprouts, Target, Homeland, Wal-Mart, Smart Saver, Crest, and ALDI. Rogers estimated the pantry makes about 100 retail pickups each month.
“It’s a great blessing that these stores donate what they can’t sell,” she said.
Manna Pantry has about 150 volunteers who help when they can.
FOR THE COUNTY
People across Canadian County must provide proof of residency and a photo ID to access the emergency food pantry.
They can go shopping through the pantry and the Woven Boutique once a month but return for perishable items every two weeks.
Manna Pantry is open from 5-8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, from 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, and from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday and Saturday.
There is a card they will have on hand to help with the quantity of items they can choose from (depending on family size).
There also is access to the Faith Clinic, which provides healthcare services to anyone who does not have insurance.
The Together We Center combines the three services, with Mustang Mayor Brian Grider serving as executive director.
Once the extra climate-controlled storage facility is completed following the fundraising, the benefits will be abundant.
“It’ll just mean that we’ll have that food available as we need to stock,” Rogers said. “We’d be able to better rotate our inventory.
“We’re very grateful for all of the community support, and we’re trying to get known more so in our newer areas like Mustang and El Reno.”
For more information, call the Manna Pantry at (405) 265-0193.