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Dear Friends of the PCMA Pickerington Food Pantry:

The PCMA Pickerington Area Food Pantry Board is excited to announce that we have hired Vanessa Niekamp as our new Director of Community Relations and Fundraising. She will join the pantry effective November 13, partnering with current Director of Operations Gessica Peraza in managing the pantry at the direction of the Board of Directors.

Vanessa currently works in commercial cash management at Park National Bank in Pickerington. She also serves as the current president of Pickerington Schools Board of Education. She replaces Barbara Meek, who resigned the position this summer to accept a position with Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.

The members of the Board of Directors interviewed several candidates for the position and unanimously decided that Vanessa will be an excellent choice to help lead the food pantry into the future. Her extensive experience and knowledge of the community will be incredible assets as the pantry defines itself for the future.

In her role with the food pantry, Niekamp will manage community wide fundraising and donation efforts, as well as organize special events like the annual Food Truck Frenzy and the holiday Festival of Lights. She will oversee the agency’s grant writing efforts, as well as build community by working with other area agencies such as Pickerington Christian Ministerial Association, United Way of Fairfield County, Mid-Ohio Food Bank, the chamber of commerce, Pickerington Schools, and other community groups and civic organizations.

Before working at Park National Bank, Niekamp was executive director of the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, a state agency that protects consumers and advances the funeral industry statewide.

Niekamp has 23 years of government leadership experience. She managed Ohio’s State Controlling Board, which authorizes adjustments to the state budget, and has personally been responsible for a $1.3 billion budget with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

She lives in Pickerington with her husband and two sons. Her community involvement includes serving as past president of the Pickerington Lions Club and a member of the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce. She also is the school sector representative for Tyler’s Light, a drug education and awareness program.

I’m sure you will join me in welcoming Vanessa to her new role with the PCMA Food Pantry!  Regards, Tony Barletta, Board President

Did you know that 11% of Pickerington lives below the poverty line?

The mission of the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington is “Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope.” The purpose of the organization is to provide emergency food assistance to income eligible clients (at or below 200% of Federal poverty guidelines) who reside within the boundaries of the Pickerington Local School District. The Food Pantry is organized exclusively for the charitable provision of food for the relief of the poor under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Food assistance is provided for households once per calendar month. The Food Pantry is a choice pantry, meaning that it operates much like a grocery store, where clients are given a list of categories from which they are free to choose whatever food they like to correspond with dietary restrictions and preferences. Each person in a household is given enough food to last the equivalent of eight days, or 24 meals, to supplement the household’s food for the month. The Food Pantry makes an effort to provide nutritious food for clients, including fresh produce every week and provides a recipe book to help prepare food that clients are not familiar with. The vast majority of the food distributed from the Food Pantry is either purchased at a steep discount from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank using monetary funds donated to the Food Pantry, or donated by various sources around the community, including grocery stores, churches and schools.

The Food Pantry is located in the Olde Village of Pickerington, and it serves an average of 600 people a month. 

The Food Pantry’s clients are a diverse portrait of the Pickerington community, including young children, extended families and senior citizens. Many unforeseen scenarios, including job loss, sickness or injury, can put a financial burden on households – it is with generous support that we can aid our neighbors in their time of need. Thank you for supporting the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington and our mission of “Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope.”

The Food Pantry has continued to see an increase in need for our services. In October, 2015, we hit our record month when we served 195 households.

The PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington was nominated, along with Tyler’s Light, for the Doug Barr Safety Award. The award is presented in memory of the late Violet Township Assistant Fire Chief Doug Barr, who dedicated his life to helping others. It recognizes individuals or organizations who have demonstrated continued commitment to the Pickerington/Violet Township area by going above and beyond the call of service for projects that enrich the community. The PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington is honored to have been selected as the 2016 winner of the Doug Barr Safety Award. Thank you to the many community members who have helped us with our mission of Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope.

Back row: John Eisel and Jodi Wilson (Board Members), Tony Barletta (Board President), Theresa Byers (Chamber of Commerce President), Barbara Meek (Dir. of Comm. Relations and Development), Alison Forche (Chamber of Commerce Chair), Gessica Peraza (Dir. of Operations), Darrin Monhollen (Board Member).

To see what’s ahead on the calendar, please click here.

PCMA stands for Pickerington Christian Ministerial Association.