Summer 2017

New Space Gives Families a Place to Call Their Own

Virginia Fitzpatrick and her neighbor, Christian, enjoy a hot, nutritious
lunch at the House of Bread.

At the House of Bread, a community kitchen that serves hot, nutritious lunches to more than 122,000 individuals in need each year, everyone is welcome. While this mission to provide a safe haven to so many is a noble one, it is not without its challenges.

“We have been serving all of our guests, from newborn to more than 80 years old, in the same dining area since we opened in 2002,” said Melodie Bennett, executive director of House of Bread. “This has become increasingly challenging over the years. We have more families coming in, and at the same time, more adults who are struggling with mental health and addiction issues.”

To better accommodate its guests, House of Bread recently made plans to expand its facility to provide a comfortable and safe environment for all. The nearly $1.4 million expansion includes a separate dining area and restroom for families. The Dayton Foundation is supporting the project with a $50,000 discretionary grant awarded in 2016.

“The Dayton Foundation is a well-respected organization,” Melodie said. “Having the Foundation support our project is like having a seal of approval!”

In addition to creating separate dining areas, renovation plans include a second entrance for families, along with vestibules for each door to increase safety and provide a warm place to wait in during cold weather. Other improvements include expanded areas to receive and store food donations and a larger cooler for fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy. Two new consulting rooms also will give individuals privacy when meeting with House of Bread staff or social workers.

“Having the Foundation support our project is like having a seal of approval!”
-Melodie Bennett, executive director, House of Bread

“Our parents face the emotional trauma of raising children while living in poverty. Right now, we only have a small space where we can discuss with families crisis issues they may be dealing with,” Melodie said. “These consulting rooms will give parents space to breathe and have a private conversation, while knowing their children are safe. We then can better assist them with the underlying issues that are causing them to need our services.”

Virginia Fitzpatrick, a Jefferson Township resident, thinks the new addition will provide a much safer environment for children. During the summer, she brings children ranging from 8 months to 16 years old, who don’t have transportation because their parents are working.

“Nearly every day the neighbor kids call me to take them to the House of Bread. And I pray every day that my car will start so that I can bring them to get a hot meal, which often is the only one they will get each day,” Virginia said. “While I understand this is a place for everyone, children shouldn’t be exposed to some of the issues that other guests are dealing with.”

“This project will serve more guests at the House of Bread and have an important, positive impact on Dayton.”
-Melodie Bennett, executive director, House of Bread

Ron Rollins, board chair of the House of Bread, stresses the importance of creating a separate space for families. “A large, bustling open dining-room environment, such as ours that serves people who sometimes have mental health and other issues, may not feel comfortable for parents and their small children,” he said. “And yet, they still need what we offer. A special family dining room designed to accommodate these needs, with family-style seating, a separate serving line and an educational and recreational area for kids, will provide a cheerful, welcoming place for the youngest and most vulnerable individuals who need us.”

To date, $550,000 has been raised for the project, with construction set to begin in 2018, but more support is needed to help House of Bread meet its ultimate goal - getting individuals and families back on their feet and on the path to self-sufficiency.

“No one should go hungry, and everyone should have a place where they feel welcome,” Melodie Bennett said. “This project will serve more guests at the House of Bread and have an important, positive impact on hunger in Dayton.”

» Next Article

To learn more about House of Bread and the renovation project, click here.

Sign up today to be added to our e-newsletter distribution lists for Good News Snapshot, Good News or Futures.

Learn about an easy way to give through the Foundation. Click here.

^ top of page
File date: 7.25.17
  • foundation
  • foundation
  • foundation
  • foundation