By A. Kevin Corvo, ThisWeek
After nearly 50 years of operation within the walls of Dublin Community Church, the Dublin Food Pantry is poised to move into a facility of its own next year.
The pantry is in the midst of a $3 million capital campaign event as it continues to provide food security to a record number of families.
On Nov. 10, the pantry provided assistance to 95 families during the two-plus hours it was open, a record number that has been eclipsed several times this year, Jim Wilson, director of operations for the Dublin Food Pantry, said Nov. 17 as a cadre of volunteers prepared for the pantry’s opening that evening.
The Dublin Food Pantry is currently open, but only three days each week at Dublin Community Church, 81 W. Bridge St., in the heart of historic Dublin.
The pantry is open from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. each Monday, 10 to 11:45 a.m. each Tuesday and 4 to 6:15 p.m. each Thursday.
But the move to a vacant 7,750-square-foot commercial building at 6608 Dublin Center Drive is to provide the Dublin Food Pantry with “unlimited flexibility,” Wilson said.
“We can open more hours and it will be more convenient for our volunteers and those we serve.”
Because the Dublin Food Pantry shares the confines of the church with the preschool and other programs there, traffic congestion and other minor inconveniences can occur, Wilson said.
The new building on Dublin Center Drive is to provide the pantry with an expanse all its own.
It will be renovated before it opens, Wilson said.
The Dublin Food Pantry has a purchase contract in place as it continues to move toward its $3 million fundraising goal, he said.
With more than $1 million raised to date, the move is likely to occur before the entirety of the goal is achieved, but future donations are to support the pantry’s financial obligations, according to Wilson.
The pantry, which utilizes about 2,600 square feet at the church, has never turned any family away, Wilson said.
The new larger site is to ensure the pantry can always serve as many families as necessary.
“The need is still here and has not gone away,” as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, Wilson said.
While the Dublin Food Pantry is receiving record numbers of donations, it only keeps pace with the number of families seeking assistance within the boundaries of the Dublin school district.
“I once wondered whether there was really a need (for a food pantry in Dublin),” Dublin resident Kevin Langen said.
Langen, 65, began volunteering at the Dublin Food Pantry about 10 years ago after retiring from teaching at South-Western City Schools.
“My neighbor was a volunteer (at the pantry) and when I retired, I was looking for something to do,” and began assisting the pantry.
“The experience made me aware that food insecurity is not only in urban settings,” Langen said.
“I have done just about everything,” from unloading, sorting, organizing and serving the food the pantry receives and distributes, he said.
Donations to the Dublin Food Pantry can be made from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the pantry, but monetary donations are equally or even perhaps more helpful to the pantry, according to Wilson.
The pantry’s affiliation with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank allows it to purchase food in greater quantities and at reduced prices not available to individuals, Wilson said.