By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester Human Services is searching for a permanent home for its food pantry, seasonal projects and office space for an administrator.
The food pantry moved to rented warehouse space in 2012, but current needs are outstripping the capacity of the facility.
According to Canal Winchester Human Services Administrator Penny Miller, space is borrowed to store supplies for Tools for Schools and Adopt-a-Family, senior transportation vehicles are parked on city-owned land, gardens provided for food pantry clients are located off-site and her office is located in a renovated bedroom.
“From the beginning, the executive board always acknowledged that renting versus owning a facility is very expensive and could not be cost-effective for the long-term,” said Miller. “It is difficult to ask donors to fund operating expenses that have no long-term value such as rent, while you also need financial support to operate each program, including the food pantry and senior transportation.”
Miller said the organization assumed additional responsibilities requiring more staff when the city stopped providing drivers and scheduling staff for senior transportation in 2013. Food pantry client numbers now exceed 1,300 individuals. Service and program expansion, such as the hunger initiative for low-income students, are other reasons Human Services is in need of a permanent facility housing all services at one location.
With all this in mind, Canal Winchester Human Services initiated a One Square Foot at a Time Capital Campaign to raise funds to build a complex on land currently under negotiation. Organizers hope to start construction in late spring or early summer.
“I hope everyone will want to ‘own’ a piece of the organization’s future and see this as a way for the community to come together in celebration of Human Services’ past successes while preparing for the needs of the future,” said Miller.
Miller emphasized it is important that contributors understand funding for a permanent facility is completely separate from funding for programs.
“Our organization relies on the support of the community to administer all the current services and it is important those who have contributed to the food pantry, senior transportation or projects, such as Emergency Assistance and Adopt-a-Family, will continue that support,” Miller said. “However, it is hoped everyone will also contribute to the funding of a permanent facility.”
Miller said, while large donations of both money and in-kind services will be needed, the support of local business, groups, organizations and families is also important.
“Each $50 increment will provide one square foot of space in a permanent facility,” said Miller.
Donations made in honor of loved ones, in memory of those who have passed or as individual legacies are encouraged and can be mailed to Canal Winchester Human Services, 22 S. Trine St., Canal Winchester, OH 43110. Credit card donations can be made at www.cwhumanservices.org.
All donations of $50 or more will be permanently acknowledged in the new facility.
“Our goal is to raise $250,000 through the One Square Foot at a Time campaign,” said Miller. “We are negotiating some land we hope will be donated to the campaign or will be available at a very nominal lease amount. We have preliminary plans, but until the land parcel is fully committed, we are not in a position to give details on the plans. Tentatively we are looking at about 5,000 square feet that will accommodate all of our programs. There will also be adequate space to keep all of our transportation vehicles as well.”
For information or to donate, contact Miller at penn...@gmail.com.