PV food pantry seeks donations during pandemic

Volunteers from Valley Life Church in Pauls Valley help restock the shelves at the Samaritan Food Pantry in Pauls Valley. The local food bank has had an increase in applications for assistance since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. The group is in dire need of meat to give to Pauls Valley residents who need assistance. News Star photo by Jeff Shultz

By Jeff Shultz

Managing Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on hundreds of food banks across the state and nation, including Pauls Valley’s Samaritans Food Pantry.

According to Samaritans volunteer Lou Hall, the local food closet has had 22 new applications for assistance since the pandemic started.

“We’ve got local people who have lost their jobs during that time and, when you add them to our regular families needing assistance, that comes to around 181 people in Pauls Valley needing help,” Hall said.

The Samaritans are in dire need of meat.

“We can get all of the canned goods we need from the Regional Food Bank. What we need is for someone to donate a cow to be butchered,” Hall said.

She said the request might seem comical but the reality of it is serious.

“In the past we’ve had local ranchers donate a pig or a calf to be butchered, and that got us a lot of meat. Now we need one or two cows for hamburger meat.”

Of course, the Samaritans will always take financial donations.

“Money is good. We can take it and go buy hamburger meat,” she said.

The Samaritans are open on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m.

For more information, call the Samaritans at (405) 207-9077.

There was some good news from last week’s drive-through COVID-19 testing conducted by the Garvin County Health Department.

According to the health department, there were no positive test results among the 62 individuals tested last week.

As of April 15, there were 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Garvin County.

As the number of cases in Garvin County has climbed in the last few weeks, the numbers released to the public on daily and weekly reports from the health department have fluctuated up and down slightly. 

For instance, one day the health department reported 13 cases in the county and the next day it would drop to 10 or 11.

Julie Williamson, health department spokesperson for District 8, which includes Garvin County, said the fluctuation is due to a reporting issue they are working to resolve. 

“The number should never decrease. Recovered cases will still count toward the total for the county,” Williamson said. “Corrections are made due to case duplication and residence clarification.” 

According to the health department, the problem is due to confusion regarding some patients’ addresses. For example, a person who tests positive and actually lives in McClain County, but has a Lindsay address in Garvin County.