Major Facility Expansion Completed

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley (CSSMV) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration on Thursday, June 27, 2024, to mark the grand opening of its expanded facility at 922 West Riverview Avenue in Dayton. Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr provided an official blessing, and guided tours were offered to the public immediately following the ceremony.

Construction of a 6,500 square foot addition to the existing building began in July of 2023. While discussions originally centered on ways to remodel the existing structure to better support program needs, it was determined that a significant expansion of the building’s footprint would provide the best long-term value for the agency and its constituents.

Four key components are included in the addition:

  • CSSMV’s Choice Food Pantry now has a much larger, more flexible space with more efficient storage, better flow for pantry patrons, and a designated off-street area with covered access for food deliveries. The pantry is open from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. weekdays, frequently serving more than 100 households per day in that two-hour window. In 2023, the pantry served 6,277 unduplicated households encompassing 13,405 individuals. The “choice” pantry model gives patrons the opportunity to select items most appropriate to their preferences and dietary needs, rather than receiving a generic box of food.
  • A new ground-level Welcome Center has replaced the facility’s previous main entrance, which required visitors to climb stairs just to get to the door. The new entrance is located directly off the agency’s parking lot, with the front desk staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday by a combination of volunteers and staff who can provide information and resources to those looking for help beyond emergency food assistance.
  • The original 1960s-era structure lacked accessibility beyond the pantry level. The new addition includes a two-sided elevator that provides full access to every level of the building, both new and old. Accessible restrooms were also added on every floor.
  • A new community room located above the Welcome Center will allow the agency to hold various board and committee meetings at the W. Riverview facility, but the broader goal is to provide a space where other local nonprofit and community groups can meet. Logistics are still being finalized, but more information will soon be available on the agency’s website.

“We completed a fairly extensive renovation of our food pantry in 2015, but as food insecurity has continued to impact more and more people in our community, we needed a long-term solution to the limitations put on us by our inadequate pantry space,” said Laura Roesch, CEO of Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley. “Our new pantry gives us the flexibility to adapt our services to meet changing community needs in the coming years.”

“The people visiting our pantry are struggling with unemployment and under-employment, a spike in the cost of rent for basic housing, and even trying to afford needed medications. Making a visit to our pantry instead of buying those [food] items can be the thing that helps them pay their electric bill this month or replace the shoes their child has outgrown,” said Tamara Gaddis-Strozier, manager of CSSMV’s family stabilization & success programs. “There’s no reason for anyone to feel shame about using a food pantry to help make ends meet. That’s exactly why we’re here.”

Funding for this project was a result of Catholic Social Services’ five-year, $10 million Generations Campaign that launched in 2021 with “improving facilities” as one of its four key priorities. The campaign will continue through 2025. RDA Group was the project architect, and Fender Construction served as the general contractor.

The 922 W. Riverview Avenue facility is home to the CSSMV Choice Food Pantry, Family Stabilization Services, the Next Steps program (a collaboration with Sinclair College), the Life Essentials adult guardianship program, and the agency’s administrative functions. CSSMV has additional locations on Brown Street in Dayton and in downtown Sidney, with different programs based at each site.

Founded in 1921, Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley has an eight-county service area in southwest and west central Ohio. With professional staff and trained volunteers, the agency provides direct service and case management in nine program areas: behavioral & mental health, family stabilization & success services, guardianship services, Hispanic outreach, pregnancy & parenting support, refugee resettlement, services for older adults, supervised visitation, and transportation resources.