Santa Maria Community Services’ Project Advance AmeriCorps Dedicates Food Pantry in Lower Price Hill

Santa Maria Community Services, Inc. is pleased to announce that it will be opening an outdoor food pantry at its Joe Williams Family Center, located at 2312 Glenway Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45204. The official unveiling will occur at noon on Friday, April, 22, 2022 at the Joe Williams Family Center.

L to R: AmeriCorps members, Elizabeth Bissmeyer, Bella Smith, Monica Smith, Kish Richardson, Chevella Johnson, and Beth Thomas

Santa Maria’s food pantry project was spearheaded by its Project Advance AmeriCorps volunteers. Kish Richardson, an AmeriCorps member serving as an Education Instructor at Santa Maria, helped organize the project. “This year’s service project theme is addressing food insecurity, hunger and waste in Cincinnati,” Richardson said. The AmeriCorps team coordinated a food drive to collect canned goods, hygiene products and non-perishable items at four locations that utilize AmeriCorps volunteers throughout the city. Once the pantry is filled on Friday, all remaining items from the drive will be donated to La Soupe and the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and Black Power Initiative’s Community Food Distribution Program.

“I am very proud of the hard work that Kish and the rest of our AmeriCorps team has put into the food drive and into constructing the community pantry. No one should have to wonder where their next meal is coming from,” said Hunter Lang, Project Advance AmeriCorps Program Director at Santa Maria. “While this pantry will not solve food insecurity issues in the Lower Price Hill community, it will create a space in the community for neighbors to exercise trust, compassion and mutual aid. For 125 years, Santa Maria has provided resources, including food, to those in the community, but this project is a little different, because it encourages the community to participate in providing support as well. Mutual aid is crucial for creating positive, transformative change,” he said.

The Joe Williams Family Center, named for long-time Santa Maria supporter and Chairman of the Board of the Cincinnati Reds, Joe Williams, offers learning spaces for Santa Maria’s Youth Development program, a gym, tutoring center, kitchen, and art and dance classes. During Joe Williams Family Center regular operating hours, 12-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, families may seek food assistance from Santa Maria staff. Outside of those operating hours, the pantry will be open to the public.