SEM Food Pantry

The SEM Food Pantry, located on Beechmont Avenue in the heart of Mt. Washington, is a major supplier of emergency food to the needy of the Mt. Washington-Anderson Township-western Clermont County area. In 2014, the Pantry served more than 13,915 needy clients.

We operate as a “choice pantry,” meaning that clients “shop” for the food they like and can use, so everything with which they leave will be consumed. We are open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. a nd on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Call for an appointment, so there will be minimal waiting to be served. Phone: 513-231-1412

The Food Pantry partners with the Freestore/Foodbank, and receives much food from them for distribution. It also operates with an all-volunteer staff, and has extremely low overhead. Consequently, it can deliver approximately 94 cents of every dollar received to our needy clients. It is a Federal and State tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization , and your gifts are tax-deductible. If you would like to contribute to this excellent organization, send your gifts to:

SEM Food Pantry
6474 Beechmont Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45230



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13,915 NEEDY PEOPLE IN 2014

HOW MANY DID WE SERVE? For the tenth year in a row (since 2005) the SEM Food Pantry served more than 10,000 needy people, all of whom were at or below the Federal poverty level. We served 13,915 hungry people in 2014.

WHERE DID THEY ALL COME FROM? 57% (that’s 7,994) came from HAMILTON County. 43% (that’s 5,919) came from CLERMONT County. (2 from Brown Co.)

FOOD WAS THE MAIN REASON: We are an emergency food pantry. Ninety-four cents of every dollar spent went for food purchases. When funds were available we also helped a limited number of clients with prescriptions and transportation.

WHERE DOES ALL THE FOOD COME FROM? Much food is purchased through our partner, the FREESTORE/FOODBANK. Some is surplus from USDA and Ohio. SEM churches provide tons of food through their food drives. We receive free foodstuffs from Aldi, Kroger, Remke, Servatiis, and Starbucks.

WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM? In 2014 we received $82,010 in contributions. 15 SEM churches provided $59,662 (73%). The remainder came from 9 businesses and service organizations and 84 individuals. You know who you are. We couldn’t do it without you. THANK YOU so much for your support.

GOD BLESS OUR VOLUNTEERS! Did you know that the SEM Food Pantry is an ALL VOLUNTEER organization? Our loyal volunteers, more than 40 strong, unload the trucks, stock our shelves, and assist our clients 52 weeks a year and they do it very well. Director Charlie Gentry and Associate Director Judy Dockendorff run an efficient and compassionate operation. THANK YOU ALL. (A special THANKS to MT. WASHINGTON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH for rent-free use of the Pantry.)


While we hope 2015 brings a better economy and fewer hungry clients, we are gearing up for another busy year. We hope you will help us meet the challenge and give your support to the SEM Food Pantry. Please send your contributions to the SEM FOOD PANTRY, 4676 BEECHMONT AVE., CINCINNATI, OH 45230. We are a 501(C)3 organization; contributions are Federal and State tax deductible.

Report prepared by Robert T. Bridges, Coordinator, Southeastern Ecumenical Ministry, January, 2015

Mrs. Irma Flickner

An SEM institution passed away on September 1, 2010. Mrs. Irma Flickner was the long-time manager of the SEM Food Pantry and an even longer member of the SEM Legislative Board, representing the Mt. Washington Baptist Church. Irma's twenty year tenure as the manager of the SEM Food Pantry until the ripe old age of ninety was the stuff of which legends are made. During that twenty year period, Irma saw the pantry grow and become a major player in the Mt. Washington-Anderson Township-western Clermont area. During that period, the number of needy people helped increased fourfold, with a grand total of 11,700 clients helped in 2009.

As the pantry grew, Irma was able to recruit caring volunteers to help her with the increased workload. At the end of 2009 Irma supervised a staff of some 40 volunteers. When her health became a factor in early 2009, she had prepared her staff well and they assumed her responsibilities with little disruption. Irma served SEM as a delegate from the Mt. Washington Baptist Church for almost forty years, a remarkable record of longevity. The organization will miss this wonderful lady who devoted her life to helping others. Mrs. Flickner was 91 years old.

Silver Chalice Awarded to Mr. Charlie Gentry

Mr. Charlie Gentry, a longtime volunteer at the SEM Food Pantry, was named Director of the pantry in March 2010.

During his first year as director, Charlie has performed in a manner that certainly exceeds any expectations the Legislative Board might have had. His initiative has been remarkable, and his leadership has moved the Pantry into the 21st Century.

Prior to Mr. Gentry’s leadership, all records were manually maintained. Mr. Gentry examined the record keeping, outlined a system to automate the records, enlisted the (free) aid of a programmer to write the program, debugged the system when it was ready, trained the volunteer staff to use it, and placed it in operation in June, 2010. The system enables the Pantry to keep client information on the computer instead of file cards, produce month-end reports for both the Freestore/Foodbank and SEM, and assist in inventory control and ordering. Recent improvements also reduce the time spent in processing clients as they arrive daily. Charlie solicited much of the computer equipment that was donated to the Pantry.

Area clients have expressed a preference for being able to select food items rather than receive a prepackaged assortment. The SEM Food Pantry had several impediments to such a service, including cramped quarters and several facility problems. Mr. Gentry set out to overcome the facility problems and limited space. Installing a new beam to support the floor, replacing the sidewalk and steps for easier access to the front of the building all made much easier flow of people through the building. The clients much appreciate the improvements and having the ability to choose their food.

Charlie is always looking for ways to make the SEM Food Pantry more responsive to the needs of our clients. In February, 2011 Charlie arranged for the Pantry to be open on Tuesday evenings from 5-8 PM and this extra access is very helpful to clients. The added computer equipment has also made it possible for us to offer new services. Online applications for services at the Jobs and Family Services, food stamps, and filing simple tax returns are available.

Charlie Gentry has accomplished more in his first year at the Pantry than many of us could have imagined. He has instituted changes within the all-volunteer organization that were received favorably and with enthusiasm. Bob Bridges, the delegate from Calvin Presbyterian Church said, “In my forty-four plus years with SEM, I know of no person who deserves SEM’s highest award, the Silver Chalice, more than Charlie Gentry.