DFP Director of Operations Jim Wilson and
DFP Executive Director Denise "Dinky" Youngsteadt-Parrish
with recently retired Rev. Robert "Bob" Tussing and
Rev. Lisa Bowersock of Dublin Community Church.
Dublin Food Pantry is located in the Dublin Community Church located at 81 W. Bridge St. Dublin, OH 43017
45 Years of Service
Dublin Food Pantry
A BRIEF HISTORY
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 and groups 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-shopping 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 and limited in 2021 due to the pandemic, the City of Dublin and entire community have helped in new ways to meet the increased need.
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's scope 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.
Currently, DFP's Director of Operations is Jim Wilson, who assumed the role in 2018. Beginning in March of 2020 he managed the operational changes needed to keep the pantry open and safely operating.
Pandemic conditions have persisted into 2021 and Dublin Community Church, now under the leadership of Rev. Lisa Bowersock after Rev. Tussing's retirement in September of 2021, continues to allow for the panty's expanded space needs. Dinky and Jim will return Dublin Food Pantry to a "choice" shopping system once it is safe to do so.
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
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