IPM has been helping families and children in need since 1964. The organization began when a group of concerned individuals who attended St. Thomas Episcopal Church saw a need in their community. Three other churches (Armstrong Chapel, Indian Hill Episcopal Church, and St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church) joined them to assist families who were living in stilt homes along the Little Miami River near Newtown, Ohio. Laying down their theological differences, this ecumenical array of churches developed a non-profit called Inter Parish Ministry, designed to help their neighbors during times of economic crisis.
Today, over 50 churches, organizations and businesses form a partnership to support IPM Food Pantry as we pursue our mission of feeding families in need and connecting neighbors to life-enhancing resources. The agency employs specialized staff and works with a vast array of volunteers to provide a variety of services, all overseen by a Board of Trustees.
In its early years IPM hosted a variety of programs including senior programs, children’s summer programs, a thrift and furniture store, holiday programs, and a food and clothing pantry. However, as time went on, the targeted focus of IPM became building food security for families in need. IPM adopted a choice food pantry model, providing a sense of dignity and respect to pantry guests as they could select foods their families needed and enjoyed.
Over the past few years, several changes have been instituted to increase food access for families facing food insecurity. These changes allowed IPM to access USDA-sourced food and offer pantry visits every 30 days. In addition, IPM has expanded its reach in the community, providing mobile and pop-up food pantries in locations where clients live, learn, play and pray. In addition, these changes allowed IPM to expand the amount of fresh foods provided, including eggs, milk, meat and produce. IPM also maintains a commitment to offer personal care and cleaning products to pantry guests.
Each and every client who walks through the doors of IPM Food Pantry can expect to be treated with dignity, respect and kindness. Other programs offered by IPM are designed to strengthen this experience. Individuals visiting IPM can access holiday gifts and meals, select produce from one of four community gardens, shop for school supplies, share a meal at one of IPM’s Summer Community Picnics and learn how to make nutritious meals through our IPM Plates Program.
In 2020, facing the COVID-19 pandemic, IPM began to offer a Drive-Through Pantry for families in need to address health and safety concerns and make food distribution more efficient. Surveying IPM guests, we learned that most preferred the Drive-Through model; they found it was simpler, more convenient and provided a sense of anonymity. In addition, IPM worked to increase food access points throughout the community by bolstering IPM’s Mobile Pantry footprint and increasing Pop-Up Pantries around the community, raising awareness about IPM. Finally, IPM became a Food Resource Center for other agencies, who access food for families they serve by coordinating with IPM.
Programs which expand food access were possible through increased collaboration with other organizations. As part of this effort, IPM has partnered with the Freestore Foodbank, Child Focus, Clermont County Safety Net Alliance, Coverd, CNE Cares, Easter Seals, Veterans’ Affairs, Boys and Girls Club, Clermont County YMCA, 9United, OSU Extension-Clermont County, United Way Success By Six, Thomaston Woods, Timber Creek, Lakeshore Estates and a number of other agencies and school districts. All work together to meet the basic needs of families and seniors who live in eastern Hamilton, western Brown and Clermont counties in Ohio.