Local food pantry sees increase in need during COVID-19 pandemic

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — A local food pantry is serving hundreds of Oklahomans who are struggling to feed their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This is what we’ve done for the last five years,” DeBorah Boneta, Executive Director for the Mercy Food Pantry, told News 4. 

Boneta said right now, the need is much greater due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Obviously, if money is tight and you can’t afford food, we’d like to be able to help,” she said. 

So, Boneta and the volunteers at Mercy Food Pantry are putting together boxes of food for those struggling to feed their families right now. 

“The first week we were open additional days. We had what we called the free day. So, just anybody and everybody could come and that week. We served more than 1,000 people,” Boneta said. 

In order to saver supplies, she said they had to scale it back a bit. So, they’re now open every Thursday and Sunday, which are the normal days of operation. 

“Each day we serve anywhere from 200-250 boxes,” Boneta said. 

Boneta is also the executive director for the Surayya Foundation OKC next door. They too are lending a helping hand right now. 

“We are doing diapers and laundry soap and soap on this side of the building for people in need,” she said. 

Those in need who News 4 spoke with, like Patricia Bolander, said they’re extremely grateful for the food, supplies and the people volunteering their time. 

“We haven’t had a paycheck in three weeks and we’ve been trying to figure out how to feed everyone in the house,” Bolander said. “I’m very grateful, very, very grateful. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t find out about this place.” 

Mercy Food Pantry, located at 3840 North St. Claire Ave, OKC is open every Thursday and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. 

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