DAYTON, Ohio — After 35 years, an area nonprofit fighting hunger and homelessness is not done yet. Their biggest project yet is underway as they prepare to celebrate the decades-long anniversary.
Getting groceries might seem like a simple chore but for Linda Payne, it can be a costly one, and not just because of the prices, but the distance to the closest grocery store.
“It’s about a half hour,” said Payne.
That’s why she came to a grocery store on wheels.
“We don’t have to go too far to get to the store and stuff and they’re giving us coupons to buy us some healthy foods,” said Payne.
The nonprofit group Homefull stocks the groceries and takes the truck to places in the Montgomery County area that are considered food deserts, but the need is still growing, and not just for food.
“As the weather changes you really have to think about of people that are potentially without shelter that could be unhoused in our community on any given day in Montgomery County there are 700 people who are experiencing homelessness,” said Homefull’s Chief Strategic Officer Trudy Elder.
Elder said the group started as a day shelter more than three decades ago and is growing along with the need.
The group has built affordable housing for families, provided food, and now, one of their biggest projects yet is underway. It is a multi-million dollar grocery store, doctor’s office, and additional housing in West Dayton.
“We feel like if we can increase and improve housing food and jobs for the people that we serve, then we will go a long way to meeting our vision, which is a community where there is no homelessness,” said Elder.
For Payne, it means health screenings and affordable groceries she can walk to.
Homefull is celebrating its 35th anniversary Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the ‘Stream Plant’ in Dayton from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.