Coronavirus a year later: Nicole Adkins, ‘So many have been hit so hard’

Nicole Adkins, With God's Grace executive director, stands inside the non-profit's new free grocery store at 5505 North Dixie Dr. in Dayton.
Caption
Nicole Adkins, With God's Grace executive director, stands inside the non-profit's new free grocery store at 5505 North Dixie Dr. in Dayton.

Credit: Staff

A year ago today marked the moment that COVID-19 went from a emerging threat on a somewhat distant horizon to a grim reality that would kill more than 500,000 Americans in its first year and alter the lives of millions.

The Dayton Daily News checked in with 12 area business and community leaders and let them tell us what they learned about their lives, businesses and policy making during the pandemic.

Nicole Adkins, With God's Grace executive director, stands inside the non-profit's new free grocery store at 5505 North Dixie Dr. in Dayton.
Caption
Nicole Adkins, With God's Grace executive director, stands inside the non-profit's new free grocery store at 5505 North Dixie Dr. in Dayton.

Credit: Staff

Credit: Staff

Nicole Adkins of With God’s Grace

Nicole Adkins, executive director of With God’s Grace food pantry, said the effects of the pandemic will be seen beyond this year.

“So many have been hit so hard and so many are still not in work now,” Adkins said. “We’re going to be seeing the effects of this economy… it’s not something that’s going to magically fix in a year or two. It’s going to take some time. It’s just like when we went through the tornadoes. It’s going to take a while to recover.”

With God’s Grace food pantry saw over 2,000 families in line a day at the beginning of the pandemic. Now about 750 families come through at a given time, which is higher than before the pandemic, but need has leveled off since a year ago.

Adkins said she has seen a 60% increase in families who had never been to a food pantry before.

“We didn’t know how much the need was going to increase because we had no idea how the economy was going to be affected,” Adkins said. “A lot of families realized that they did not have enough savings to be able to hold them afloat through the pandemic. They tried to figure out what they could cut, what they could go without and food is something that no one can go without.”

Adkins said her organizations goal is to help families recover without having to worry about food. With God’s Grace is a partner with the Foodbank Inc. in Dayton. Adkins also opened a free grocery store for those in need this past year.

“We were basically one of the first responders to help families in the community,” she said.