‘Main Event’ nourishes Canadian County’s hungry

Pantry’s benefit will help fund new storage facility

Together We Center Executive Director Brian Grider reads a card selected by Manna Pantry volunteer Dusty Rogers in a raffle for a 9mm Taurus handgun. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Associate Editor

More than 200 people attended an annual benefit that will help feed the hungry across Canadian County.

Manna Pantry’s “Main Event” featured a catered dinner and auction Sept. 7 inside the Palace Event Center, 2310 N Banner Road in El Reno.

More than $30,000 was raised to help build a new climate-controlled storage facility behind the Together We Center, 620 N Cemetery Road on the Trinity Baptist Church-Yukon campus.

Elizabeth and Lanie Hansen bid on items at the silent auction table. Some 30 silent auction packages were offered. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Manna Pantry occupies a 2,000 square foot space beside two other Together We ministries, the Faith Clinic and Woven thrift clothing boutique.

Since moving 18 months ago from a converted 800-square-foot house in downtown Yukon, Manna Pantry has seen a more-than 2-1/2 times increase in need.

The non-profit, emergency food cupboard now serves clients across Canadian County.

“We are able to let our families come in and shop for themselves,” Manna Pantry Director Sherri Rogers said. “Having a shopping cart is important because they can pick their own groceries and put them in the cart themselves.”

The economy and rising prices have contributed to the increase in people seeking food – with Manna Pantry seeing 99 new clients last month after 63 new clients came the previous month.

Auctioneer Rick Scrivner seeks bidders for 11 featured items in the live auction, which brought in more than $22,000. Spotters were Jason Bow and Trent Scrivner. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Rogers called board member Ramona Ritchie on a recent weekday asking her to come help because the pantry was short-staffed.

“I drove in and couldn’t find a parking spot,” Ritchie said. “In three hours, we served 35 families.”

Manna Pantry’s regular hours are 5-8 p.m. Monday, 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, 5-8 p.m. Thursday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. A “porch pantry” is offered Fridays.

While Manna Pantry has more room than before for its shelves, large cooler and refrigerators, its 300-square foot warehouse is almost full.

The new storage building will be constructed on a concrete pad behind the Together We Center – and will be used by all three ministries.

Manna Pantry Main Event attendees go through the buffet line before they eat a tasty dinner prepared by Bob Bean Catering. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Brian Grider, executive director of the Together We Center, thanked the audience for coming out to Manna Pantry’s Main Event – to support Canadian County’s hungry.

“Those are people in our community,” Grider said. “Those are our neighbors. Those are kids next to our kids at school.

“They are people we’re able to bless and help out. It’s pretty awesome.”

Manna Pantry has partnerships with local grocery stores and the Regional Food Bank to help keep fully stocked.

“Every day that we’re open we’re giving out about $15,000 worth of food,” Grider told attendees.

The Letters Carrier Food Drive has been the pantry’s largest annual collection event, bringing in 25,000 to 32,000 pounds of food in one day.

Manna Pantry Board Member Darren Heusel seeks participants in a “playing card” raffle for a 9mm Taurus handgun. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Showing their support for Manna Pantry are: From left, Steve Carson, Jim Stengle and Roy Middleton. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)


Manna Pantry’s 2023 Main Event featured a live auction with 11 items bringing $22,635. Auctioneer Rick Scrivner was assisted by spotters Jason Bow and Trent Scrivner.

Big-tickets items were two Tuscany villa trips ($5,200 each), two Caribbean trips ($4,000 each), Oklahoma City Thunder night out ($1,400), 40 pounds of grass-fed hamburger ($550), and two, 50 pounds of pork meat ($375 each).

Anthony Vargas, student pastor at Trinity Baptist Church Yukon, offers the opening prayer. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Other live auction items were a signed picture by OU Heisman winner Sam Bradford ($300), Tahe paddle board with oar ($200), hand-forged knife ($300), hand-crafted doghouse with dog toys and free adoption ($185), Lifetime Pacer sit-inside kayak ($325), and “One Nation Under God” hand-engraved rock ($225).

Some 30 more items were included in a silent auction. Bids were taken on everything from a bison painting and Victorian doll to a golf package and skate passes with pizza gift certificates.

Other funds were raised in a “playing card” raffle for a 9mm Taurus handgun with range passes.

The Main Event was capped off by auctioneer Scrivner soliciting bidders to pledge $250, $500 and $1,000 to help feed families served by Manna Pantry.

All proceeds benefit Manna Pantry, which serves Canadian County residents experiencing “food insecurity.”

Spotter Trent Scrivner identifies a bidder during the live auction. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

“We’re here for you,” Director Rogers tells prospective clients. “Don’t let pride keep you from coming in. We will treat you the same way we would want to be treated.

“We are so grateful to all of our volunteers and all of our contributors. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Her son Dusty Rogers recalls participating in food drives as a Cub Scout, having served Manna Pantry as a volunteer over the past 15 years.

“One hour a month is all it takes to make a difference,” he said.

Trinity Baptist Church Pastor Brian Mills credited the Rogers family and Manna Pantry’s “team” for their dedication.

He thanked Main Event attendees for giving to “invest” in Canadian County and the pantry’s food recipients.

“We see people meet Jesus because of the Manna Pantry – because of how many people serve it and how much is given to it,” Mills said.

To volunteer or support Manna Pantry, email srogers@togetherwwecenter.com or call (405) 265-0193.

The Oklahoma Mustang Club presents a generous gift to the Manna Pantry representing proceeds from a July 4th car show. Accepting the donation (from left) is Brian Grider, executive director of the Together We Center. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Enjoying the Main Event festivities are: From left, Gloria Elliott and Micah and Keith Chapman. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)