FISH Pantry holds groundbreaking, receives donations


XENIA — The Greene County FISH Pantry held a groundbreaking Dec. 15, at its 774 Cincinnati Avenue, during which time it also received some donations.

“The increase in the number of folks served requires an increase in the storage area,” said Gail Matson, executive director. “We broke ground for a new storage facility which will be 80 by 40 and will have a freezer and a cooler, 30 feet by by 24 feet each. This will allow the pantry to accept more donated food and rescued food.”

Matson said the pantry is seeing the working poor right now, and 100 new families each month.

”We served 12,401 families in 2022, and we will top 15,000 this year. We want to ensure that the pantry is sustainable in the future,” she said. “With that plan, we are trying to raise 1.2 million; 400 to 500,000 will be for completing the building with the freezer and cooler. The rest we are hoping to invest so that the proceeds will give operating funds back to the pantry each year.”

The Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce collected $1,740 in money at its annual meeting and the Holiday Inn in Fairborn matched that amount and presented checks to the pantry during the groundbreaking.

“One of our long-time friends, Ven Swaminathan, who helped us to develop the capital fund-raising plan, pledged $25,000 from him and his wife,” Matson added. “That kind of support will keep this pantry going and in turn hold down the costs for food purchases which skyrocketed this year in 2023.”

Matson receives assistance that isn’t in the form of money, citing Donna Oakes and Elizabeth Johnson, who help every day push Matson to do better. That type of support is welcomed.

“We want stakeholders to become a vested part of our organization, to see the value to the community and help us to provide for those in need in Greene County,” Matson said. “We would love to name our community, our buildings, our trucks, and many other things to acknowledge the commitment that the donors have made to us. We always need volunteers, food donations, and financial donations for food. Those are the staples we depend on for operating the pantry. I want to thank everyone involved in helping the pantry and always standing behind us to lift us up when we have a need.”

Residents of Greene County can utilize the pantry from 12-3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The gates open at 11 a.m. and often clients are already lined up in their cars. Families are allowed to receive donations once every three weeks.

Veterans and military are served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday. For more information about the capital campaign, call 937-372-8441. To send a monetary donation, mail to Greene County FISH Pantry, P.O. Box 113, Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.

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