After the initial visit to the store, families will only need to sign in when shopping. The store will serve families in Montgomery, Preble and Greene counties.
The nonprofit organization will offer literacy classes and cooking classes and can refer its shoppers to job-training programs and other assistance to help them become more self-sufficient.
In the long run, Adkins said the store will likely serve as many as 2,000 to 3,000 families a month, with families shopping once a week. Upon opening, however, Adkins expects to be able to serve closer to 500 to 600 families a month. When shopping, each family member will be able to obtain supplies for 15 meals to last five days.
The nonprofit has partnered with local churches, the Dayton Food Bank, area health-care providers and other agencies to make the free step-up program possible.
Meals provided will also be thoughtfully portioned according to the USDA’s MyPlate healthy eating guidelines, organizers said. Portion control, meal planning and healthy eating will be the non-profits’ focus when taking families through the store to shop for the week, Adkins said.
“This is what I’d always wanted to do,” Adkins said. “To find out the ‘why’ because you really can’t help the families until you know what is causing their hardship. A lot of people think you’re just handing them food. But if you can work with your families to become self-sufficient and to be able to not have to depend on or use a food pantry, that’s how we’re going to end hunger.”
Nicole Adkins, With God's Grace executive director, stands inside the non-profit's new free grocery store at 5505 North Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp.
Established in 2015 out of Adkins' Northridge-area home, With God’s Grace is now Adkins' full-time job. The nonprofit served nearly 10,000 families in April alone as the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted Miami Valley families.
With God’s Grace now operates year-round out of its warehouse at 622 Springfield St. in Dayton. After the coronavirus pandemic struck, the organization ramped up activity to meet the needs of struggling families and now holds regular pop-up drive-through food-distribution events.
To volunteer time, donate money or find out when the next food pantry is scheduled for, log on to their website at withgodsgracepantry.org or visit the organization’s Facebook page. Non-perishable food donations can be brought to the North Dixie Drive store on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.