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Greene County FISH Pantry to expand, thanks to land donation

Greene County Fish Pantry

The Greene County FISH Pantry has seen a recent increase in the number of families it serves. The pantry, which provides food and meals to people in need, has seen its monthly average of serving 1,100 families jump to more than 1,400.

Gail Matson, the executive director of the nonprofit, said the group has been struggling to keep up.

"Our numbers have been going up and we were trying to figure out a business plan that would make us more stable and sustainable for the future,” Matson said

This includes launching a $1.2 million capital campaign for expansion and prioritizing the construction of a new warehouse for food storage.

“We already have an existing 20 by 20 freezer and a 20 by 20 walk-in cooler. But we have to move everything in and out just to get to everything,” Matson explained. “It would make it a lot easier if we could store (food) in the warehouse and then as we need things we can roll it across the parking lot.”

The pantry currently owns the building at 774 Cincinnati Ave. but the land is owned by the Greene County Commissioners. Under Ohio law, the county can only give the land to a municipality.

The City of Xenia agreed to accept the land and serve as a bridge between the county and the Fish Pantry.

“Governmental entities have to mow the grass, maintain the buildings and at some point you’ve got good money chasing bad,” Councilman Thomas Scrivens explained. “When it’s in private hands, they can use the property as they see fit.”

The Xenia’s City Council must now certify transferring the 3.5 acres to the food pantry. They can then apply to the state for tax exempt status. This means the Fish Pantry will not pay property taxes.

Kathryn Mobley is an award-winning broadcast journalist, crafting stories for more than 30 years. She’s reported and produced for TV, NPR affiliate and for the web. Mobley also contributes to several area community groups. She sings tenor with World House Choir (Yellow Springs), she’s a board member of the Beavercreek Community Theatre and volunteers with two community television operations, DATV (Dayton) and MVCC (Centerville).

Email: kmobley@wyso.org
Cell phone: (937) 952-9924