Community Food Pantry

From left, Community Food Pantry of Benson Vice President Carol Jenkins and President Najayyah Many Horses are presented with a $10,000 check Monday by Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative Board President Dan Barrera.

BENSON — The Community Food Pantry of Benson is celebrating a donation that will make it easier for the nonprofit to provide holiday packages for community members that use the pantry’s distribution.

On Monday, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative Board President Dan Barrera presented a $10,000 check to Food Pantry Board President Najayyah Many Horses and Vice-President Carol Jenkins. The funds were made possible through a shared grant program between SSVEC and CoBank, one of SSVEC’s lending institutions.

“Sulphur Springs and CoBank have a sharing success program,” Barrera said during the check presentation. “This year, CoBank contributed $10,000 toward the program, and Sulphur Springs contributed a matching $10,000. The combined contributions provided $20,000 in grants which we’re presenting to two organizations in the Benson area.”

The Community Food Pantry received $10,000 and a second nonprofit, We Care Pregnancy Center, is the recipient of the other $10,000 grant, Barrera said.

The money, which comes just in time for the holiday season, is a “true blessing for the pantry,” said Many Horses.

“We plan to give two bags filled with just about everything people need for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We’re going to be distributing 400 bags the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and, even though we’re going to have all the staples, not everyone will have a turkey. We will have a few turkeys, but not enough for everyone.”

Many Horses said the Food Pantry is organizing a system so the turkey distribution is fair.

“We’ll have a colored slip of paper inside the bag with the staples. If you pick the bag with the colored paper, you get a turkey. It’s the only way we can do it,” she said.

Because of the grant from SSVEC and CoBank, the food pantry will be able to feed more people, Many Horses said.

“We want to be able to ensure that our residents have healthy meals, so this $10,000 from SSVEC and CoBank, will help make that happen.”

As a long-time food pantry volunteer, now serving as the board vice president, Jenkins agreed.

“We are so appreciative of this check and what it means to the people who use the food pantry,” she said. “With the holidays approaching, the timing couldn’t be better.”