The SEM Food Pantry in 2011
Another banner year helping our needy neighbors!
Seven years in a row! That's how many years the SEM Food Pantry has served as a major source of food and financial help for more than 10,000 needy clients.
How many? Yes, in 2011 the Pantry served 13,182 needy clients who are at or below the Federal poverty level who might otherwise have gone hungry and had it not been for the dedicated volunteers and generous support of the churches of SEM and our friends in the SEM community.
Where does most of the food come from? Much of our food is purchased through our partner, the Freestore/Foodbank. Some food is surplus from U.S.D.A. and the State of Ohio. In 2011, we spent more than $57,000 for food and another $5,900 for personal hygiene and household items.
Food was the main reason: 90% of our clients (thatís 11,918) were served with food. 10% (1,263) received financial assistance for utilities, medical/medicines, gasoline, and other miscellaneous costs.
Where does all the food come from? Much of our food is purchased through our partner, the Freestore/Foodbank. Some food is surplus from U.S.D.A. and the State of Ohio. In 2011, we spent more than $57,000 for food and another $5,900 for personal hygiene and household items.
Does it come from anyplace else? Yes, our SEM Churches provide thousands of pounds of food through their food collections. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, some schools had food drives for us. We also receive free bakery goods and produce from Kroger, Biggs, Starbucks and Caribou Coffee.
God bless our volunteers! Director Charlie Gentry, assisted by Judy Dockendorf, coordinates 40 volunteers who keep our shelves stocked and food distributed. No one in the SEM Food Pantry receives a paycheck; an all contributions go to our clients.
Where does the money come from? In 2011 we received $73,600 from 14 SEM churches, 18 area service, business, and religious groups, and 52 individuals. You know who you are; know that your contributions made life better for countless people in need. Thank you to all of our generous supporters who make all of this happen.
We also offer assistance! In 2011 we began offering assistance to clients applying to the Ohio Benefits Bank for aid and benefits, and will offer free income tax preparation in 2012.
Would you like to give to this worthy cause? Make out you check to the SEM Food Pantry and mail it to 6474 Beechmont Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45230. We are a 501(C)(3) organization; all contributions are tax deductible. No one in SEM receives a pay check, the Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church provides our facility rent-free, and we operate frugally with low, low overhead.
Your contributions are tax deductible; we are a 501(C) 3 organization. If you would like to contribute, please send your check made out to: SEM Food Pantry, to:
SEM Food Pantry
6474 Beechmont Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45230
Prepared by: Robert T. Bridges, Treasurer, Southeastern Ecumenical Ministry. 513-752-6569
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. Gentryís 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, ďIn my forty-four plus years with SEM, I know of no person who deserves SEMís highest award, the Silver Chalice, more than Charlie Gentry.