Local food pantry that serves about 300 families threatened with eviction
NORTHRIDGE, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - A community that uses a local food bank came to Fox 45 for help after that pantry was threatened with eviction.
Thousands of people rely on "With God's Grace" food pantry every month, their executive director said she feels they are being unfairly forced out because of the type of people who need to use the pantry.
Nicole Adkins also said the landlord just put up tow-away signs and sent out a letter that allows other tenants to call for a tow of the cars of pantry patrons. It also states the food pantry can be evicted if new rules are broken.
"We've had a lot of them that if canceled today because of the scare tactic of their car being towed, and they'd rather go hungry," said Atkins.
On a normal day Adkins says the food pantry serves about 300 families. They open their doors three times a month for emergency food services at their Webster Street warehouse address.
Adkins said their landlord knew they were a food pantry when they moved into the building in August but she says now, "he's legitimately trying to force us out."
Adkins said she was not expecting the letter from the landlord Feb. 15.
"It's very degrading and very sad to see that our families have to struggle and feel judged because other people don't want them here," Adkins said. "to walk through that door is not easy, but to be afraid that your car is going to be told is even worse because for some of them that's their only livelihood, some of them live in their car."
Adkins showed FOX45 some of the pictures she snapped she says of other business park tenants taking up multiple parking spaces, she believes to stop her patrons from being able to park and excess food.
She also said someone from a neighboring business, "actually blocked one of our family members in for over 25 minutes and refused to move the vehicle."
Fox 45 called the landlord's cell phone to ask about the issue but did not get a call back.
"It's just a bad situation for her because she's helping so many people tremendously," said Mary Bole, who came from Clark county to use the food pantry.
"I need a non-discrimination area to be able to have the food pantry where everybody feels welcome," Adkins said.
Adkins also said she has been asking patrons to park on a nearby side street and walk up to the food pantry but said that is hard for some who have disabilities because it is on a hill. She also said the landlord planned to paint the parking lot so that each business has a designated number of spaces.
The pantry wants to stay in the north ridge area because they said that is where the need for help with food security is.
Adkins says their current lease runs through August 2017 but because of the issue they are already looking for a new building.