DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – One year past the peak need for food pantries because of the pandemic, local organizations say their efforts to end hunger in the Miami Valley haven’t stopped.
In March and April last year, The Foodbank was serving hundreds of families a day, now around 110 families go through their location on a daily basis.
“By far we’re at a much better place today than where we were this time last year in 2020,” The Foodbank Chief Development Officer Lee Lauren Truesdale said.
Truesdale said in March of 2020, they served 1,550 new families. This March, they served 571 new families.
She said while numbers are down now, the summer months typically come with an increased hunger need.
“High cooling bills, high heating bills, kids being out of school, that impacts a family’s food budget really at the end of the day, so a lot of folks live in this emergency space day in and day out,” Truesdale said.
With God’s Grace Food Pantry has seen the demand for their drive-thru mobile food pantries down, but the number of people through their free grocery store remains steady.
Executive Director Nicole Adkins said she’s noticed stimulus checks have been a big help to lower the number of people needing their services, but the checks may turn out to be a temporary fix.
“We’re really not going to see the true impact if they are just leaving our lines and not coming back until a couple months,” Adkins said.
With God’s Grace is working with their clients through the pandemic to help them become self-sufficient.
“We’ve had a couple of them that is no longer going to need to use our service, which is bittersweet for us because we don’t get to see them, but we also know we helped them,” Adkins said. “The biggest key is being able to give them the resources and give them the help and finding out the reason why they are needing to use a food pantry.”
Truesdale said even once the pandemic is over, it doesn’t mean food insecurity in the Miami Valley will disappear.
“People have high bills, maybe they experience an emergency, their house burns down, so thinking about those things in the community and there are people who need that food assistance on an emergency one-time basis or even ongoing,” Truesdale said.
The Foodbank holds drive-thru food distributions on Mondays and Wednesdays at their location on 56 Armor Place.
With God’s Grace holds a mobile food pantry every Wednesday and their free grocery store is open Monday to Tuesday and Thursday to Friday.
With God’s Grace will hold a drive-thru distribution Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the American Legion Post 668 located on 8220 North Dixie Drive in Dayton.