Coronavirus: Local nonprofit has fed nearly 10,000 Miami Valley families

What started out of Nicole Adkins’ Northridge home in 2015 with her coupon club is now a food pantry powerhouse feeding needy Dayton residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April her nonprofit organization, With God’s Grace, provided 9,393 Miami Valley families with food via its drive-thru mobiles. The organization is scheduled to hold a mobile food pantry from 1 to 2:30 p.m. today at 101 Drexel Ave. in Trotwood.

God’s Grace now operates year-round out of its warehouse at 622 Springfield St. in Dayton. Pre-coronavirus, multiple monthly “choice pantry” events were held, but the organization ramped up activity to meet the needs of struggling families throughout the Miami Valley.

With God’s Grace to hold mobile food pantry on Saturday in Trotwood

To volunteer, donate money or find out when the next food pantry is scheduled for, log on to their website at or visit them on Facebook page @WithGodsGrace.MobileFoodPantry. The schedule includes planned drive-thrus that happen regularly each month, and pop-up drive-thrus that happen multiple times a week now because of the crisis.

The hail storm that hit earlier in April didn’t slow down Adkins and her crew. They pushed on as they have been the last couple months to feed families. Umbrellas folded in half and inside out as volunteers kept the line of cars moving as people pick up food.

Adkins said there was nothing else left to do but laugh. This is pretty on par with her attitude through most stressful situations.

Last week, a woman’s car broke down while she waited in one of With God’s Grace mobile drive-thrus. With three small children in the car, the woman posted to the organization’s Facebook asking for even a loaf of bread to feed her kids that night.

When it was time to shut down the drive-thru lines and close down, Adkins quickly put together one last box with enough meals for the young family, and drove it herself to the car shop where the woman and her children were stuck.

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“Right there tells you the need, the hunger,” Adkins said. “So many families have lost their jobs, so many are struggling. We hear the stories that they’ve never been to a food pantry and they never thought they would need to come through a drive-thru mobile location to get food for their families.”

The car mechanic looked at Adkins and said, “How did you know? She’s been crying the whole time that she wasn’t going to have food for her kids.”

The biggest feeling Adkins said she feels after a food drive event that might last more than three hours isn’t exhaustion, but relief. Relief that hungry families in the area know they will eat dinner tonight.

However, exhaustion would be an understandable feeling to have. Adkins relies on the help of volunteers, as she is the only employee of the growing non-profit.

Last week, a volunteer told Adkins that their fitness tracker on their cell phone told them they had walked more than 20 miles during the mobile drive-thru event while signing in people.

“It’s tiring on our volunteers, they’re getting worn out,” Adkins said. “But they’ve been sticking with us, and I’m so grateful for each and every volunteer we have. I know the work they’re doing; we could not do the work we’re doing without them. They’re one of our front lines.”

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