DAYTON, Ohio - Community Blood Center (CBC) presented $500 in Kroger gift cards to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry Wednesday, April 23 on behalf of donors who gave blood during the holidays and wanted to also help the hungry and the homeless. According to St. Vincent de Paul, the demand for food assistance has never been greater.
CBC gave $10 Kroger gift cards to those who registered to donate during the Christmas and New Year's Day holiday periods. Donors first expressed an interest in donating the gift cards to charity during the 2011-2012 holiday season. This is the third year the contribution has been directed to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.
Volunteers stock shelves at the Food Pantry two Saturdays a month and hand out food bags to those in need the following Wednesdays. CBC presented the cards to the Food Pantry on Wednesday, April 23, a food bag distribution day. The Food Pantry waiting area was full, and the line for those waiting outside stretched the length of the building.
This year's donation was made in honor of former St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry Volunteer Coordinator Bob Young, who helped found the pantry in 2001. He passed away March 11 at the age of 74. CBC presented the donation to Bob's daughter Theresa Busher and St. Vincent de Paul Community Enterprises Manager Krys Davidson.
"Bob Young always made sure that the gift from our donors reached those with the greatest need," said CBC Donor Relations Director Andrew Keelor. "We mourn his passing and miss his fellowship. CBC and our donors dedicate the 2014 donation in his memory."
"This was his passion," said Bob's daughter Theresa Busher. "He was very dedicated because he knew there was never a lack of need. It's a blessing to see it in action and see what an amazing resource it is for the community."
"The need is greater than it's ever been since the pantry started in 2001," said Krys Davidson. Most of the food distributed at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry comes from the Miami Valley Foodbank. Davidson said the number of individuals and families registering to receive food each month has climbed steeply this year, from 550 households representing 1,959 people in January to 848 households and 3,041 people in April. The pantry serves anyone in need, regardless of where they live. Davidson said the pantry is now helping families from 42 different zip code areas across the Miami Valley.
"What we are getting from the Foodbank is sustaining the people, but barely," said Davidson. "If it continues to increase we are going to need more help from the community."
"This donation has become a tradition," said Andrew Keelor about the blood donor contribution. "Blood donors truly 'give twice' when they support our mission by donating blood, and by supporting the St. Vincent de Paul Pantry mission of feeding the hungry with the donation of their gift cards."