Miamisburg Helping Hands Food Pantry

Interview by: Carla Steiger

Don AllenDon Allen, 79, is a dynamo.  He works tirelessly for the Miamisburg Helping Hands Food Pantry which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. It’s one of 88 member agencies that The Foodbank supplies.

“The Helping Hands Food Pantry is set up like a business. There are 16 board members, a President, a Vice-President, Food Distribution Manager and receptionists,” he explained.  “12 churches throughout Miamisburg staff Helping Hands.  Each church is assigned a once-a-year monthly responsibility to staff the pantry,” he added.

Don Allen volunteers as Operations Manager where he oversees the day-to-day operations of the pantry.  “Our biggest responsibility is to have food to distribute to clients and getting the best price on food that we do buy,” he said.  “We get our food from The Foodbank in Dayton, donations, and from time to time we purchase food from stores.  Kroger and Aldi’s are the two big ones.  At Kroger we buy milk and eggs,” he said.  Whenever possible, farmers from the Miamisburg area pitch in and make donations as well.”

He said that he has seen an increase in the number of families served by the pantry.  “We serve an average of 325 families, but in November we had 360 families come in,” he stated. Helping Hands is open Monday from 6 – 8 pm, Wednesday and Friday from 2 – 4 pm. The pantry is also open on the last Saturday of the month from 10 – 12 pm.

Don’s work as a volunteer for Miamisburg Helping Hands came after a long and successful career. Retirement from GM in 1992 gave him the freedom to start his own remodeling firm, which he did until 2010.  “Basically, I had to give it up for medical reasons. I have vision problems and heart issues and now have a pacemaker,” he explained.  Although he no longer does it as a business, Don can make just about anything out of wood including “furniture, kitchen cabinets, wall units, recipe boxes, and many other things!”

Yet, woodwork was just not enough to satisfy him. As a man used to being actively engaged in the world, he found restrictions bothersome. “I didn’t want to sit around. I wanted to have something to do,” he stated energetically.  “I told a neighbor, Barbara Standifer who is now the pantry’s President, about my need to do more. She told me about The Foodbank and suggested that I visit Helping Hands to see what I could do. I did, and I have been there 3 ½ years,” he said as he grinned.

“We work very, very diligently to folks in the Miamisburg community. “Working with everyone at The Foodbank is fantastic.  I couldn’t ask for the opportunity to work with nicer people.  They go above and beyond for us,” he said gratefully.  It is a partnership that is sure to last for a very long time.

DPL Energy Resources raised $31,617 to say “Thank You” to its customers and the community

DPLER_Foodbank-check-presentation(LR)Inspired by the holiday season, DPL Energy Resources wanted to find a creative way to say “thank you” to its customers. They decided to give back to their hometown community by sponsoring a matching campaign with us at The Foodbank. We have been a long-standing partner with DPL, and we were happy to partner with them to administer this campaign. Thanks to the generosity of DPL Energy Resources customers, and a matching donation from the company, we were able to raise $ 31,617 dollars, enough to deliver 126,468 meals for local families.

DPL Energy Resources customers along with the general public were invited to donate money in support of The Foodbank and the 88 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters we serve in a tri-county area. DPL Energy Resources matched donations (up to a total of $10,000) from November 21 through December 15 of 2014. A $10 donation provided 80 meals to the hungry in Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties.

Over the years the face of hunger has changed. Families rely on their local pantries to put food on the table while parents work two or three part time jobs to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads.

“DPL Energy Resources is truly a Hunger Hero,” says Michelle Riley, CEO of The Foodbank. “We could not do this important work if not for the support that they provide. With 125,700 people who don’t always know if they will be able to put food on the family table, The Foodbank relies on the support of the community as we work towards our mission of feeding hungry people throughout the Miami Valley. We are so thankful for the support of everyone who gave and for DPL Energy Resources for matching the heartfelt donations of our donors.”

“We were amazed at the generosity our customers showed with this campaign,” said Daniel Schilens, President of DPL Energy Resources. “DPL Energy Resources is proud to give back to our hometown community, and glad to be able to say ‘thank you’ in a way that will help so many neighbors and families.”

DPL Energy Resources is Dayton’s hometown retail electric provider, serving the needs of 285,000 residential and commercial electricity customers in Ohio and Illinois. DPL Energy Resources has been providing customers with smart energy strategies and generation services at a competitive market-based cost since 2001. Learn more at Follow DPL Energy Resources on Twitter @DPL_Energy.

Robert Fennell – 23 Years of Service at The Foodbank

Robert in 1992

Robert Fennell, 1992












In 1992, Robert Fennell walked in to the first day of his new job at The Foodbank (formerly American Red Cross’s Emergency Food Bank). Leaving behind his work as a dump truck driver, Robert was looking for a place where he could both enjoy his work and take care of his family. He happened upon an article in the newspaper looking for a driver for The Foodbank and decided to apply. 23 years later, Robert is still feeding hungry people and working to make a difference in his community. Robert’s favorite part of the job is the people he meets. He enjoys talking with the men and women who work on the docks of the grocery stores who donate product every day and laughing with his coworkers in the warehouse.

Robert now

Robert gives back to his community in other ways too, lending his dog out for first aid trainings with the Red Cross where he received an award for Support Person of the Year, and even once working as a lifeguard at his local pool.

While working at The Foodbank, he was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo treatment. “Throughout my battles with cancer, The Foodbank has always been there for me, giving me the means necessary to get to my treatments and cheering me on through it all. Days when I went through chemo, I would still come to work because I wanted to be there for my coworkers just as they have been there for me,” said Robert.

Robert was born and raised in Dayton and enjoys a life with his wife Dianne and Harley FXRT motorcycle, which he lovingly calls “Harley Dog”. Robert’s free time is spent riding Harley Dog on country roads and petsitting friends’ dogs.

To commemorate Robert’s years of service to feeding hungry people, The Foodbank recognized him with a Hunger Hero Award.


Barb and Peg Retirement

Barb Wysong

Barb Wysong of Camden FISH

In October, The Foodbank is saying farewell to two amazing women: Barb Wysong and Peg Cannon.

Barb ran Camden FISH food pantry for over 20 years, serving her local community to provide food and support for those who would otherwise go without. She has faithfully led the pantry through its many years in Preble County and is handing the responsibility over to Bev Jarrell.

Since 1998, Peg Cannon has been running Xenia FISH food pantry, serving hungry families in Greene County to provide them with much needed nutrition. Bob Bosl is taking her place.

The Foodbank is so thankful for the many years of hard work and service these two ladies have put in. Our hearts are warmed by the fact that there are people like Barb and Peg who are willing to feed those in need.

September Mass Distribution

Mass 1

A volunteer puts apples into the backseat of a client’s vehicle

Thanks to the generosity of CareSource, The Foodbank took a day from their usual business to provide a community-wide Farmers Market at UD Arena. Fresh watermelons, cabbage, corn, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, apples, along with many other vegetables were given out to 717 hungry families!
September 26th was a busy day as we had over 80 volunteers filling out paperwork, bagging food, and handing out the food. Along with the fresh produce, Ohio Poultry Association passed out farm fresh eggs and the Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives passed out kids’ coats to prepare them for winter.

The day wouldn’t have been possible without the support of CareSource, our volunteers, and everyone else involved! Thank you!!

Mondelez International’s Support

Mondelez Mondelez Global LLC, a multi-country food and beverage company, recently supported The Foodbank by donation and service through their foundation, Mondelez International. Every year, Mondelez sets aside money for its employees to choose who they would like to support as a group. Locally, the company supports our Good-to-Go Backpack program, which provides weekend meal packs to 1400 hungry children in the Miami Valley every week. Enough money to provide 280 kids’ packs was donated. Along with financial support, local employees decided to take it a step further by coming in on their day off to spend their morning building the backpacks! The Foodbank is thankful for the support of Mondelez International and all organizations who support our Good-to-Go Backpack program.

2014 Spring Newsletter

2013 Fall Newsletter

Summer 2013 Feedwire Newsletter

Feedwire – Summer 2012

In this edition:

  • C.A.M.P. and Camden FISH Food Pantries Serve Rural Populations
  • Kroger Customers Provide 70,000 Meals to Feed the Hungry
  • Local Farmers Give 1.5 Million Eggs to Feed Hungry Ohioans
  • 20th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive a Huge Success!
  • 3rd annual DLM Dash to Benefit The Foodbank

Download Feedwire – Summer 2012 Edition