The Xenia FISH Pantry is an all volunteer, non-profit organization supported by the community, serving the emergency food needs of Greene County. FISH is an acronym for “Friends In Service of Humanity.”
The pantry was started in 1976 in an Episcopal Church after the 1974 F5 tornado that hit the Xenia area. The families who were still trying to rebuild their lives needed food assistance to ease some of their burdens. The pantry remained in the church until 1993, when it moved to the current location in the County Services building on Ledbetter Road. The pantry has stayed at the current address for the past 16 years and was fostered by the county for that time.
A driving force for the pantry was Peg Cannon, who never gave up trying to help those in need of food. After she retired in 2013, Bob Bosl took over as President with Dan Frevert as Operations manager and kept the pantry going until February 2017. During his time, the use of computers for registering the clients who came in became the way to gather statistics for the pantry. You could see how many people the pantry was able to serve, the number of adults, children, and seniors, those disabled, employed, or even if they were homeless. That, in turn, allowed for a more strategic plan for how to move the pantry forward.
In 2017, Gail Matson took over as president, and by the fall of 2018, the pantry had become a full choice pantry with the assistance of the Dayton Foodbank. The pantry purchased much-needed freezers and coolers to offer more choices of fresh produce, dairy products, and meat. The pantry is now open two days a week and takes care of about 200 families a week or 800 per month. The client’s numbers coincide with local school schedules, holidays, and summer vacations.
In March of 2019, the county informed the pantry that our space was needed for the Bureau of Elections and we would need to move to another location. The truth was, the pantry had outgrown the area as well. The County offered an alternate space, which boasted three times the space the pantry had now. It was a challenge. The building needed a lot of work to make it food safe. We received a Community Block Grant to help with the project, this covered cleaning the building and all new doors and windows. We received lots of support from the community through donations of a walk-in refrigerator/freeze, air conditioning units and the parking lot paved. We moved into the new building at 774 Cincinnati Ave. in May. We are working on a handicap bathroom currently.
We have new expenses at this building, utilities and ground maintenance. We are in the process of applying for other grants, doing fundraisers, and asking for donations from the community to cover our increased operating expenses. We continue to be run by all volunteers.
We have started a new chapter for the pantry!