Some churches within the El Reno Ministerial Alliance are partnering with a restaurant in an effort to help feed individuals and families that are struggling from the impact of COVID-19.
Rev. Allen Carson of Wesley United Methodist Church serves as chairman of the Alliance. He said Primo’s will provide fresh cooked food to El Reno and area residents on Saturdays.
Carson said the plan is for people with the ability to contribute to their places of worship funds to help purchase food certificates. The churches will then purchase the certificates from Primo’s. Carson said if other restaurants choose to participate, they would be welcomed.
“We want our restaurants to be here three or four months from now,” Carson said. He said many are struggling.
Primo’s is owned and operated by the Jeff Havern family of El Reno. While the restaurant is in Yukon, Havern said the need to help feed people appears to be greater in El Reno.
“A lot of people have been laid off or had their lives upended by the coronavirus,” Havern said. He said El Reno has been hit especially hard because of the downturn in the energy sector as well.
Carson said his church, Wesley United Methodist, along with First Christian, Faith Family and Crossbridge Nazarene have agreed to help support the effort. Carson said the hope is more churches will endorse the effort in the coming days and weeks.
“This is all new territory,” Carson said. “Two weeks ago I knew nothing about online services, now we’ve done them two weeks in a row.”
Havern said by donating to the church, a person receives a tax deduction. The church is asked to identify people that may be in need of food assistance and to help get the certificates to them.
“I can think of several people in our church,” Carson said. “A mother is about to be laid off from her job and that family is going to need help.”
People can also purchase food certificates directly from Primo’s, Havern said.
The initial meal package will run $39.95 and will include spaghetti and meatballs, chicken alfredo, seven layer baked lasagna and breadsticks. Havern said it’s enough food to feed four to six people. He said other items may be added in the future depending on demand.
For $5, a bottle of wine to go with the Italian food can also be purchased. Havern said the offerings include Douglas Hill Merlot, Douglas Hill Chardonnay or PKNT Carmenere Reserve.
The food will be delivered by Primo’s staff to vehicles curbside in front of the Tribune building at 102 E. Wade. Havern said the plan is to have the food available from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. He said no one will need to get out of their car.
“Our El Reno community has supported Primo’s for 19 years. This is a way to help give back to the community and to bring people together to help one another,” said Havern.
Havern said a plumbing company purchased $1,000 worth of certificates and gave them as gifts to the medical personnel at Canadian Valley Integris Hospital in Yukon.
“This will be enough food for some people, especially the elderly, to eat for several days if it’s kept refrigerated and then reheated.”
For more information, contact Havern at 405-350-9090.