The early years
Originally called the Dublin Area Emergency Assistance Program (DAEAP), the Dublin Food Pantry was established in March 1976, when the Dublin Community Church received nonprofit designation to formally operate the pantry.
In the beginning, the pantry was housed in a large closet at the Dublin Community Church. An addition to the church in the 1990s allowed the pantry to take over a room in the new space. This move was significant, as it allowed the pantry to offer a “choice” grocery-store experience, where customers filled a shopping cart with items they selected.
When the Dublin Food Pantry originally opened, there was only one high school and Dublin was classified as a village. Now Dublin City Schools is the 9th-largest school district in Ohio and the population of the City of Dublin exceeds 50,000. As a result, the pantry now services an area that spans parts of three counties and eight ZIP codes.
Recent history to today
Support for the pantry has been widespread since its inception, with area churches and groups volunteering to staff the operation beginning in the 1980s. As Dublin and the Dublin City School District grew over the years, the pantry had to adjust. The surge in need during the recession of 2008 was particularly impactful in moving the pantry toward 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 that would hire the first professional Director. “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.”
Around this same time, the Board updated the pantry’s 501(3)(c) non-profit designation so the pantry was independent of the Dublin Community Church as of March 2012. Shortly thereafter, in the spring of 2012, the Board hired Dublin Food Pantry's first paid employee, Executive Director Nancy Johnson.
At the beginning of the next decade, the pantry was again challenged by the global COVID-19 pandemic and a significant increase in need within the Dublin community. Because there were fewer "in-person" church events due to social distancing guidelines, the leadership of Dublin Community Church allowed the pantry to expand the space it occupied in the church, allowing it to meet the surge in demand, adhere to social distancing requirements, and allow the pantry to operate using a curbside service model.
After serving a monthly average of 313 pantry visits in 2019, the pantry served 480 monthly visits in 2020. By the end of 2023, Dublin Food Pantry was serving nearly 920 pantry visits each month.