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Dublin Food Pantry sees 200% increase in need in last several years

Originally published by Bryant Somerville | March 13, 2023 | 
View the full story here

DUBLIN, Ohio — It’s easy for so many of us from time to time to feel tiny.

To feel insignificant.

Where Denise Youngsteadt-Parrish is standing inside the Dublin Food Pantry; the tiny beginnings of where it all started.

“This small space was the pantry,” she said, standing in a small room.

For the better part of the last 50 years the pantry has been inside the Dublin Community Church. In the last four years, Youngsteadt-Parrish, the pantry’s executive director, knows the community need is growing faster than the current space available.

“When I started here, if we served 24 families that was a regular night,” she said. “Now, we serve 98 families.”

In cramped quarters it’s easy to feel small. Something Youngsteadt-Parrish, who is known by her nickname “Dinky,” relates to.

“The day I was born my father said ‘Oh, my God, what a dinky kid’,” she said. “I’ve been called Dinky the rest of my life.”

In four years, “Dinky” says the need at the pantry has shot up 208%. In years past, she says the pantry would serve 18,000 individuals. In 2022, it served 32,000 individuals. It’s something not always thought about when people think of Dublin. She says the reason for this is twofold; first, people are still rebounding from COVID, especially when at the beginning of the month extra SNAP benefits expired.

The second reason, she says, is housing.

“We believe it has to do with housing,” she said. “The inability to find housing and then the cost of housing.”

She says more families are choosing to be house poor in Dublin because parents still want the benefit of the local school system for their children.

The pantry recently purchased a new building with donor funds from a capital campaign for $1.6 million. The goal is to raise $3 million for renovation and daily operations. Dinky hopes to be in the new building in six months.

Dinky says the City of Dublin was the first to buy in to the new building, with a donation of $375,000. Currently, the pantry has raised about $2 million.

🎬 Watch the interview with Dinky here

Donate to the #FeedDublin capital campaign here.

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