By Terry Groover
For hundreds of families each month, the little building on Sixth Street in Yukon is a life-saver.
Manna Pantry, 123 S. Sixth St., has been providing food for those in need in Yukon for decades. It is sponsored by the Yukon Ministerial Alliance, though the pantry is self-funded.
Renee Grannis, who serves on the Manna Pantry’s board of directors, said the organization is designed to provide emergency food supplies for residents in Yukon ZIP codes.
“We work off donations. The churches give us donations, people give us donations,” Grannis said. “We work with both monetary and food donations.”
She said each family served by the agency receives enough food to get them through seven to 10 days.
The food supply includes a variety of offerings, including fresh food, canned goods, boxed meals, cereal, peanut butter and frozen meats, Grannis said.
Some of the food is donated by local businesses, but much of it is purchased from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
Saturday, Yukon residents can help provide for the emergency pantry with donations through the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, sponsored by the letter carriers across the nation.
Last year’s food drive netted about 30,000 pounds of food, Grannis said.
That amount, she said, will provide food and supplies for the pantry for about six months.
“The majority will be canned goods, and that will keep us going for quite a while,” she said.
While Manna Pantry occasionally does receive donations of toiletry items, they don’t buy any.
“All of our money is spent for food,” she said.
In April, the agency provided food for 221 families. That number totaled 460 adults and 258 children.
Those numbers are expected to grow over the next few weeks as schools release for summer vacation.
Many of those children will stay with grandparents, creating an additional financial hardship.
Grannis said the typical client is someone who is elderly and living on Social Security.
However, there always are emergency situations, such as the person who just lost their job, or the mom who is trying to flee an abusive relationship.
“We are here to help,” said one volunteer.
More than 50 people donate time volunteering at the food pantry. In April, more than 350 hours were volunteered, Grannis said.
“It is all volunteer,” she said. “We used to get a bottle of water per shift. We’ve even eliminated that.”
Grannis said there is a need for the pantry’s services, and they will help anyone in need.
“If someone were to walk in here and they give us the required documents, we will give them food. You never know what an emergency is,” she said.
Participants must be able to prove they live in Yukon and be able to provide identification.
“We will never turn anyone down for food,” she said.
The pantry’s hours are Wednesday from 10 to 11 a.m. and 6 to 7 p.m.; Friday and Sunday from 6 to 7 p.m., Tuesdays from 2 to 3 p.m., and Wednesday’s from 10 to 11 a.m.
“It (the pantry) meets a need in Yukon. There are always the poor that are in need,” volunteer Emaline Pohlmeier said.”