Donations from individuals and businesses are helping the Xenia FISH Food Pantry prepare to move to a new, bigger location in the spring.
The nonprofit organization that serves thousands of families each year is about $70,000 away from reaching its goal of $180,000. The money will pay for renovating the building currently occupied by the Greene County parks maintenance department off U.S. 42.
Most of the funds, about $95,000, come from the county’s Community Development Block Grant program. Pantry Director Gail Matson said a dinner last month at the Xenia Adult Recreation Center raised $3,000. Fundraisers and and food drives are scheduled in October and November.
“I am applying for grants, and I am hopeful that some businesses, organizations, and philanthropic foundations take notice of us,” Matson said.
Dave Coterel, owner of Kilkare Speedway and co-owner of Buckminn’s D&D Harley Davidson, has taken notice. Coterel had closed down a food pantry he started because of a lack of funding, and he was looking to sell a 40-by-40-foot freezer and cooler, valued at $50,000.
Coterel said when Matson called inquiring how much he wanted for it, he saw it as an opportunity to do some good for the community.
“The good Lord had me hold on to these units and hasn’t brought me a buyer, I told her ‘It’s your good fortune,’” Coterel said. “Hearing her reaction raised goosebumps on me.”
The food pantry’s current location, at 531 Ledbetter Road, isn’t big enough to accommodate the donated freezer and cooler. Matson said the combined unit is in storage now, but they’ll be able to use it after moving to the parks maintenance building, which is expected to happen by March.
“It is a tremendous asset for us to be able to store more perishable food for those in need,” Matson said. “Having the cooler helps with the labor end as well because we can roll skids of food in and not have to unload by hand.”
The pantry, operating since 1976, served 24,500 people in 2018, representing 7,840 families, Matson said.
To volunteer or to find out more information about how you can help, text or call (937) 219-3628 or email [email protected]
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