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Dublin Food Pantry is dedicated to providing for the needs of hungry people by collecting and distributing food and grocery products, educating the community about hunger's impact and collaborating with others who address basic human needs.
Executive Director Denise “Dinky” Youngsteadt-Parrish
Denise Youngsteadt-Parrish, who goes by her nickname of Dinky, has a 20+ year history of helping people in need.
In March of 2021, as the pantry marks its 45th year, she is beginning her 3rd year at Dublin Food Pantry in a challenging time, to say the least. In 2020, the pantry experienced a 79% increase in individuals served.
Dinky shares this excerpt: “At this moment, this is a hopeful lesson and a hard one. We live in a nation where there are 140 million people who are poor or who are one fire, health crisis, job loss, or severe storm away from deep poverty. A nation where, during a pandemic, more than 12 million people have lost their employer-based-health care adding to the 87 million who already had inadequate health care; where nearly 12 million renters are behind in rent and could face eviction in the coming months; where 26 million people reported not having enough to eat, but 72 billion pounds of food goes to waste each year." Source:
Working towards solutions and successes, Dinky helps Dublin Food Pantry fulfill its mission with careful thought and compassion. You can contact Dinky at
Director of Operations Jim Wilson
Although Jim was born in Columbus, he moved to Dublin from Japan after spending more than four years there. This came about when his wife, Ulka, had the opportunity for a liaison position for Honda of America Manufacturing. Jim traded his sales job with a regional trucking company to become a full-time Dad for their 2 young children as they lived abroad. Now both kids are Dublin School grads and 2020 grads of the Ohio State University.
Jim is in his 3rd year as Director of Operations for the pantry. March 2021 marks the first year of completely revamped operations due to the pandemic. Successfully shifting from a choice pantry to a curbside operation with fewer volunteers per shift was no small task. As Jim points out, the operational changes were worth the extra effort to consistently and safely meet the growing emergency need. He noted, "after a work shift, volunteers continue to feel like, 'Hey, we made a difference. I think that was a really good day.'"
Questions about food drives or volunteering can be directed to Jim at
Additional DFP team members are:
Jill Collins, Bookkeeper
Hundreds of volunteers
Director of Transportation: Bev Ross
Faith Community Liaison: Barb Anderson
Website/Social Media: Patte Widerschein
IWE STRIVE TO
END HUNGER BY:
Connecting people with nutritious food and essential personal care items and helpful resources
Sharing facts about hunger and it's impact
Finding hunger solutions by engaging and collaborating with community partners and enlisting support from sponsors, faith communities, neighbors, businesses, civic groups, schools and other nonprofit organizations
Maintaining an atmosphere of kindness, compassion, safety, respect, efficiency and professionalism amongst our volunteers and all at Dublin Food Pantry
A look back at 2020
We envision a community where everyone has access to sufficient, nutritious food and the necessities for well-being.
Dublin Food Pantry (DFP) is located in Dublin Community Church (DCC) which was built in 1887 when Dublin was still a village. Dublin's Journey, a history book about Dublin, mentions that after a 1912 tornado destroyed two nearby churches, all three congregations were welcomed into this location, forming Dublin Community Congregation Church in 1913. This spirit of shared space for the greater good continues today since DCC allows Dublin Food Pantry to serve our community from this Historic Dublin location.
March 19, 1976 is considered the official start of Dublin Food Pantry since it is the date of the non-profit designation through Dublin Community Church to formally operate the pantry. The Rev. Robert Bradstreet, who pastored from 1972 to 1988, noted that pantry support was community wide. Beginning in the 1980's area churches signed up for assigned months to staff the food pantry.
Pantry founders noted that the pantry began as a large closet in the late 1970’s. A couple of decades later it expanded to offer a “choice” grocery-like experience. Today the pantry encompasses much of the lower-level addition built in the 1990’s. This extra space is needed to meet pandemic social-distance safety protocols. With current curbside service, DCC has allowed the pantry to expand floor and refrigeration space along with use of the parking lot. Dublin Community Church is an important reason that the pantry can serve so many, so well.
Volunteers, partners and donors are an integral part of Dublin Food Pantry's 45 year history.
Group and individual donations and support help us meet the growing need in our service area. Our biggest community event has become a favorite community tradition - Sunday morning entry into the Dublin Irish Festival in exchange for a food or fund donation to DFP. Hundreds of volunteers pitch in and the results help power the pantry. Canceled in 2020, due to the pandemic, the City of Dublin and entire community have helped in new ways.
The pantry service area spans parts of three counties and eight zip codes. It includes the City of Dublin and the Dublin School District. Growth since 1976 has been substantial, for instance, the school district is now the 10th largest in Ohio.
In 1980, the Operation Feed Foodbank opened, eventually becoming the current Mid-Ohio Food Bank Collective. Today, DFP is one of Mid-Ohio Food Collective's 680 partner agencies. This partnership is significant. In addition to training and data tracking programs, DFP can access needed items from Mid-Ohio and collect weekly perishable food donations from area grocers.
Officially, we are the Dublin Area Emergency Assistance Program (DAEAP) and the pantry provides an emergency source of food, basic personal care items and links to resources. With growth, the pantry had to make adjustments. The surge in need during the recession of 2008 was particularly impactful in moving the pantry towards its current organizational structure.
In 2011, DFP's Volunteer Executive Director Linda Fisher met two of her pantry goals with the formation of a board who would hire the first professional Director. Fisher said, “It was a realization over time that this has just grown into more than what a volunteer can reasonably be asked to do and it has been at that point for three or four years” as reported by This Week in October of 2011.
Although day-to-day operations continued as usual, the Board updated DFP's 501(3)(c) non-profit designation so the pantry was independent from DCC in March of 2012. This update had the support of DCC's Senior Minister Rev. Robert Tussing since the growth of the pantry warranted the changes.
In the spring of 2012, DFP Board President Amy Tibbals announced that the Board hired Dublin Food Pantry's first paid employee, Executive Director Nancy Johnson.
The Executive Directors thus far have made impressive contributions:
Nancy Johnson (2012-2015) continued the overhaul of pantry operations to a "choice" pantry where customers could load their shopping cart with selected grocery items
Molly Arbogast, MSW (2015-2018) secured the largest grant to date to purchase the DFP cargo van and updated DFP's logo and marketing materials
Denise "Dinky" Youngsteadt-Parrish (2019-present) is leading DFP through the Pandemic meeting the dual challenges of increased emergency need and safely supplying help. Customers still receive a shopping cart of groceries, although items are prepackaged and loaded into vehicles by volunteers to meet social distancing guidelines
Additionally, professional part-time Operations staff began with Lynne Hessler (2015-2018) who was previously DFP's volunteer Operations Coordinator. Director of Operations Jim Wilson, who assumed the role in 2018, has managed the complete overhaul of operations during the pandemic.
Our community, staff, board of trustees, partners and volunteers power Dublin Food Pantry. Together we are #fillingheartsandcarts
Dublin Community Church Staff
Dublin's Journey Local government print book publication. Dublin, OH 2004
dublinfoodpantry.org News and About Us
A BRIEF HISTORY OF DUBLIN FOOD PANTRY
45 years of service