Jayton residents get free grocery help after general store fire

JAYTON, Texas (KCBD) — In the past month, after most of the Kent County General Store in Jayton burned down, families have had to find other places to get basic necessities.

The South Plains Food Bank set up an emergency food pantry on Saturday for residents who would otherwise have to travel miles for food.

“You have to drive 24 to 48 miles to get to a store and buy food and stuff like that,” resident Scottie Winebrinner said.

Having to drive more costs them more.

“With inflation, rising gas prices, supply chain issues, the community is hit even harder when they lose their groceries,” said South Plains Food Bank chief operating officer , Jennifer Smith.

So employees of Oxy, an oil company in the area, called the South Plains Food Bank in the hope of collaborating.

“And (the Oxy employee) said, ‘We have a lot of employees who live in this area, we would really like to do something to help,’ so they subsidized this market today,” Smith said. . “So we can walk in with our mobile pantry and do what we now call grocery relief.”

With 75% of the people employed by Oxy in the region living in Jayton, Mario Rivera, surface team leader at Oxy in the region, knew he had to do something for his colleagues and their families.

“Living here, we go out of town and buy things in bulk, but for older people or other people who don’t really, this store was kind of their main focal point where they would go and do all their errands they needed,” Rivera said.

Rivera called community relations at Oxy, hoping they could set this up.

The food bank brings a mobile food pantry to Jayton each month, but Saturday’s free food aid helped even more residents.

“Bring food not only to our usual neighbors who come for the mobile pantry, but to all members of the community who are now, must consider driving with gas prices as they are” , Smith said.

Residents who cannot get out easily say they are grateful.

“I hurt my back at work a few months ago and I’m having trouble getting around, so it was really nice to have some errands around town,” Winebrinner said.

Winebrinner plans to ask for the food bank’s mobile pantry to help her fend for herself while the Kent County General Store attempts to rebuild.

Christy J. Olson