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Nourishing Dayton’s Heart & Soul

House of Bread celebrates 40 years of serving wholesome meals to the community.

In the heart of Dayton, there's a place that embodies the true essence of gratitude and compassion, offering nourishment and a sense of belonging to those in need. House of Bread has served the community a hot, nutritious lunch every day since 1983. From its humble beginnings, House of Bread has evolved into a vital resource, providing not only meals but also support and a sense of community to those experiencing food insecurity.

Joining the team as a volunteer, current Director of House of Bread Melodie Bennett has been witness to countless special moments with the guests they serve. "What keeps me motivated," Melodie reflects, "are the small successes, like witnessing someone who had been homeless finally find housing or connecting people with the resources they need to find themselves in a better place." 

Melodie, along with a devoted team of 14 staff members and a small group of dedicated volunteers, ensures the smooth operation of House of Bread. Each day they serve more than 250 meals in the dining room, but their reach extends beyond their walls. House of Bread generously provides meals to several local organizations, including sober living and recovery centers, contributing to the journey of those striving to reclaim their lives from addiction. In 2022 alone, House of Bread provided the community with an astounding 158,000 meals, demonstrating the unwavering commitment to serving those in need.

Melodie proudly explains, "We make an impact for those who need us the most by ensuring our doors are open every day of the year. We have a community health worker on staff who primarily works with families to prevent homelessness. For our pregnant mothers and parents with small children, we extend a compassionate hand, ensuring their basic needs are met." At House of Bread, they have created a special place for families with young children, offering them not just nourishing meals but also an educational play space—a testament to their holistic approach to serving the community.

One of the most heartwarming aspects of House of Bread is their inclusive philosophy. They never turn anyone away and warmly welcome everyone who walks through their doors. Melodie states, "I love the fact that we are open to everyone, and we treat each person with respect, kindness and compassion. We are judgment free." 

Regular guests, like Olivia, a senior citizen on a fixed income, deeply appreciate the welcoming atmosphere. She shares, "In addition to the food always being good—and sometimes great—I am treated like family."

Loyal volunteer Bob Glavin, a resident of Washington Township, sums up his love for volunteering at House of Bread by saying, "At the House of Bread, the answer is always yes. Yes, we can provide lunch to you. Yes, we can help." It's this unwavering commitment to saying "yes" that defines House of Bread's approach.

While the answers are always “yes” and the doors are always open, running a facility that provides more than 250 meals daily comes with numerous challenges, including fundraising. Contrary to common belief, over 85% of House of Bread's funding comes from the local community within a 20-mile radius of where they are currently located at 9 Orth Avenue. The community's support is vital to keeping the organization up and running.

Please mark your calendars for House of Bread’s annual Turkey Tour taking place on Sunday, November 19. This event welcomes donations for Thanksgiving dinners, especially frozen turkeys. It also offers tours of the facility and provides insights into House of Bread's mission from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There are numerous ways to support House of Bread this holiday season and all year round. House of Bread shares emergency needs and volunteer opportunities on their Facebook and Twitter feeds (@365HouseofBread). More information about financial contributions and donations of essential items from their wishlist can be found at HouseofBread.org.

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