Jayton residents receive free grocery relief after general store burned down

Donation is a collaboration between Oxy and the South Plains Food Bank
Published: Oct. 29, 2022 at 6:02 PM CDT
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JAYTON, Texas (KCBD) - In the last 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 a grocery relief pantry on Saturday for residents who would otherwise have to go miles for food.

“You’ve got to drive 24 to 48 miles to go to a store and get food and stuff like that,” resident Scottie Winebrinner said.

Having to drive more is costing them more.

“With inflation, with gas prices going up, with supply chain issues, the community’s hit even harder when they lose their grocery store,” the Chief Operations Officer at the South Plains Food Bank, Jenifer Smith, said.

So employees at Oxy, a petroleum company in the area, called the South Plains Food Bank hoping to collaborate.

“And (Oxy employee) said, ‘We have a lot of employees that live in that area, we’d really like to do something to help,’ so they subsidized this market today,” Smith said. “So, we’re able to come in with our mobile pantry and do what we’re calling today grocery relief.”

With 75% of those employed by Oxy in the region living in Jayton, Mario Rivera, Surface Team Lead at Oxy in the region, knew he had to do something for his coworkers and their families.

“Living right here we go out of town and buy things in bulk, but for the elderly folks or other people that just don’t really do that, this store was kind of their main focal point where they go get all their groceries that they needed,” Rivera said.

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

The food bank brings a mobile pantry to Jayton every month, but the free grocery relief on Saturday helped even more residents.

“Bring food not just to our regular neighbors that come in for the mobile pantry, but for anyone in the community who now is, is having to look at driving with gas prices the way they are,” Smith said.

Residents who can’t get out easily say they are grateful.

“I hurt my back at work a few months ago and it’s hard for me to get around, so this made it real nice to have groceries in town,” Winebrinner said.

Winebrinner plans to apply for the food bank’s mobile pantry to help him get by while the Kent County General Store tries to rebuild.