Two of my neighbors volunteer each week at the pantry at St. Paul United Methodist Church of Dayton in the Huffman Historic District. Since this is Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, I thought I’d tag along and take some photos.
The pantry is in the church basement. After I helped this customer get her food up the stairs, she posed for me and told me about the pantry.
“I used to walk into the pantry and “shop” for my own food. Now, because of Covid, I stand in the doorway and call for Cora. Then she brings bags of food for me. The first time you come you need to bring an ID and proof of address, because this pantry is only for people who live in the 45403 zip code. I guess the Food Bank has other pantries that are for other zip codes.”
“The amount of food you get is according to the size of your family. Our family is three people – me and my husband and our son. We get 6 cans of vegetables, 4 cans of fruit, 3 cans of meat, a box of cereal, a loaf of bread and some other things. I can come here once a month. It’s been a big help.”
The House of Bread has been serving meals since 1983. They serve a hot lunch 365 days a year. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Now they offer carry out lunches only.
You can help this organization by donating a frozen turkey this Sunday from 9am to 2pm. Just pull into their parking lot at 9 Orth Avenue and a (masked) volunteer will take the turkey from your car. OR you can drop off turkeys to us any day between 830am-330pm.
We would love to have a big Thanksgiving meal with lots of family but that won’t happen this year. But we have a frozen turkey in our freezer that we will be dropping off at House of Bread this Sunday. It’s a way to share food with others even if we aren’t all at the same table.
House of Bread
Dayton, OH 45402-6422
Heavy Gloves for children, men and women
Boots/heavy shoes — especially mens sizes 9 thru 12
Gas gift cards, such as BP, Speedway
Hooded sweatshirts or pullovers in sizes XL and XXL
COFFEE – any type, ground or whole bean
Hot Sauce — our most requested condiment!
Butter or margarine sticks
Coffee and hot chocolate
Hygiene Items for Guests
Razors and shaving cream
Toilet paperChildren’s Items
Baby wipes and diapers, sizes 3 to 6
Stuffed animals— new please
Coloring books and reading books
Healthy portable snacks, such as goldfish or raisinsDonated items can be dropped off any day between 9am-2pm! We are here until at least 4pm on weekdays.
Donation of perishable food items
If you are interested in donating food items that are frozen or need refrigeration, please call us at 937-239-8859 for specific guidelines on what we can accept. While we certainly appreciate donations, we have to ensure food safety for our guests.
My grandparents ran a small country store where farmers could buy groceries. Eventually these stores went out of business because they couldn’t compete with the grocery store chains. Some people had trouble getting to the large stores, and Jewell Food Trucks filled part of this need. Their drivers delivered to area farms and to towns that were too small to support a grocery store.
Now we have something similar happening locally. Grocery stores have moved out of many areas, creating what people call food deserts. Homefull, a local nonprofit that has been serving the area’s homeless for over 30 years, is addressing the food desert problem with a new Mobile Grocery, a grocery store on wheels.
It’s a custom built 42 foot Freightliner truck. The sides expand to provide shopping space. I took this photo at the Dakota Center which they visit every Thursday morning. If you’re downtown today you could see the truck at Sinclair Community College this afternoon from 3 to 5pm. Check the schedule here.
This is Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week. I’ve learned a bit about Dayton’s hunger issue since I’ve retired, by volunteering and by taking photos for several organizations that deal with hunger. But I don’t know much about the area’s organizations that help people when they are homeless. I asked Jessica Jenkins to help me learn a bit. Jessica (on right) is the county’s Manager of Housing and Homeless Solutions. She’s with co-worker Katherine Shanahan (center) and Intern Simbe Wilson.
Simbe showed me a book which she recommended – Evicted by Matthew Desmond. She is hosting a ZOOM event this Wednesday which is a community conversation on homelessness. It includes her interviews with people who are currently homeless. You can sign up for this event at https://us02web.zoom.us/
Jessica told me that in 2019, the average person experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County spent 44 days in a shelter before moving to a better housing situation. Her group has put together what they call their 44 day challenge which is aimed at helping people like me increase their understanding of this issue. I signed up, and I’ll be getting a daily email for the next 44 days. If you want to join me, go to https://
Simeon is a graduate of Central State and has also studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He works out of a large studio in the building occupied by Central State West. Simeon works in several different styles, and will be exhibiting three very different pieces in the show.
“One piece is my drawing of Frederick Douglas” he told me. “Another piece is a 1/25 scale model cast iron truck on which I’ve painted graffiti. The third piece is part of a series I’m doing that relates to African art. My father is from Nigeria, and I’ve had a chance to visit there. The figures in this series relate to some of the art I saw in Africa.”
You can bid on Simeon’s work online starting August 26 at https://
Erin Smith-Glenn is one of the artists participating in the exhibition “Unity: Creating a Better Tomorrow” sponsored by the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area. In this photo Erin is working in the studio where she teaches at Central State University. I asked Erin about the exhibition and about how she’s weathering the pandemic.
“I entered a painting in the exhibition inspired by my daughter. She’s a big fan of the Black Panther movie and her favorite character is Shuri, a princess of Wakanda. I started doing a painting of Shuri as a demonstration for my class, and fell in love with it.”
“The pandemic has been an interesting time for me as an artist. When I was told that Central State was shutting down, I saw that most people headed to the grocery store to stock up on food. I went to the art supply store and bought a lot. I went home and immediately went to work on a large piece and felt my stress going down as I worked. This has been a productive period for me, and a time of learning and growth.”
“Classes start again at Central State soon, and I’ve spent a lot of time getting ready. My art classes will be a combination of in person and online. When students are in the studio here I have things set up in a socially distanced way. Easels and supplies are labelled so we can keep track of which students use which items which can be important for contact tracing.”
You can bid on Erin’s work online starting August 26 at https://www.liveuniteddayton2020.org/.
The reaction to the postcards I’ve sent out has been positive, so I’ve decided to make more. As I make an abstract version of a portrait I am putting it on two postcards. One is sent to the subject and one stays with me to display in my office.
Yesterday I sent this postcard to Morris Howard, one of my favorite Dayton artists. Morris paints people, and as I look at his paintings I see more than just what the people look like. There’s also something about the essence of the person captured in the painting.
Before sending Morris his postcard I contacted him to see what he’s been doing. He said he just created a painting for an event called “Unity: Creating a Better Tomorrow.” It is sponsored by the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area and highlights the talent of local African American artists. The community will have a chance to bid on the artwork online. Then the art will be exhibited at Ebonia Gallery / Bing Davis Studio.
“The piece I’m painting for the exhibition is from the funeral of John Lewis,” Morris told me. “As part of the ceremony, his casket was taken on a horse-drawn carriage across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In my painting, the bridge is renamed as the John Robert Lewis Bridge. Artists get to do things like that.”
Morris gave me a list of the artists who will be exhibiting. I’ll try to get some photos of the artists and/or their artwork and post it before the online bidding opens.
“I lived in the Oregon District when I went to the University of Dayton” AJ told me. “I loved the food here and ate here several times a week. I knew the family that owned the place, and when they gave me the chance to buy it I bought it with my brother Brendan in May, 2019.”
“Before buying this place I sold restaurant equipment. That gave me a look at the operations of all kind of restaurants, but this is the first time I’ve operated one. This place has been voted “Dayton Best BBQ” so we didn’t want to change the food at all. We kept almost all of the employees and kept the recipes the same except for making the Mac and Cheese a little cheesier.” (I tried it – delicious).
“When the pandemic hit we stayed open for carry out orders, but business was down. Lunch has always been our busiest time, but no one was eating lunch downtown. Our other busy time was late at night on weekends when people stopped by after being at the bars. That died too. Fortunately, our dinner business boomed. That gave us enough business so that we haven’t needed to lay off any of our employees.”
200 E 5th St
Dayton, OH 45402
Mon – Thurs 10:30am – 9pm
Fri & Sat 10:30am- 11pm
Open for dine-in & carryout. Grub Hub & Uber eats for delivery.
Daj’za Demmings is a Biomedical Engineer working on artificial vertebrae for people with back disorders. She’s also the Executive Director of Dayton Young Black Professionals. I met her while she was working to clean up Mallory Park in Dayton’s Pineview neighborhood, as part of the I Love West Dayton project.
I wasn’t familiar with the Young Black Professionals Group and asked Daj’za to tell me something about it.
“We try to empower our members to be leaders in our communities, and to support improvements to those communities to make them the kind of place where we want to live. Last year after the tornadoes hit we delivered food, water and other supplies to people who were impacted. This year we’re working on the Mayor’s Police Reform effort. We also have an after school program, run summer camps and do workforce development training.”
“We could use some help with one of our projects. We’re buying Chrome Books for students who don’t have a computer while schooling from home. The GoFundMe page is https://www.gofundme.com/f/dybps-fight-for-social-justice ”