YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) – Local food pantries can be a lifeblood for residents in need, especially during economic downturn.
One donation-based ministry in the Oklahoma City metro said they’re struggling, though – right along with the people they serve.
The Yukon Sharing Ministry sits in a little building off the corner of Main and 6th streets in Yukon.
Employee Missy King said they’re doing whatever they can to help the struggling residents of the greater Yukon area and beyond, but recently it’s been quite the struggle for them to.
“I think we all learned that during the pandemic that any of us could end up in that situation,” King said. “So, you know, we really, are here just to help people.”
Giving has been in King’s family since the 1980s. The ministry has been in that same building for that long as well.
“We noticed back in July our numbers doubled,” King said.
Originally, the ministry was helping roughly 200 to 300 people in a normal month. Right now, King said they’re seeing anywhere from 600 to 700 per month.
“I think it still has repercussions from your utilities going up, groceries going up, gas, and now we have the SNAP benefits that are ending,” King said.
With people losing upward of $80 per month with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits rollback after the increase to the program during the pandemic.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, more than 855,000 Oklahomans received SNAP benefits in 2022.
The ministry has seen 3,000 more people this year than this same time in 2022.
They get donations from the food bank as well as businesses around town. But they’ve gotten to where they have to pay out-of-pocket at times to keep food stocked.
“Just because we’re going through so much of it with trying to help people,” King said.
Last year, the ministry gave 52 families about $30,000 in rent and utility assistance and provided over $8,000 in general services. This year though, King said it’s been much harder.
She added that it’s not necessarily a business you want to see booming because it means more people are hurting.
She doesn’t think they’re the only one’s going through this, but they are still trying to push through.
“We’re servants,” King said. “Our main thing is we want to treat people with compassion, with respect.”
King said they do have volunteers, but can always use more along with donations of any kind. For how you can help, visit the Yukon Sharing Ministry website.
There are also other ways to donate around Oklahoma like with the regional food bank and numerous other local food banks across the metro and state.