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With God's Grace in jeopardy of being shut down over zoning discrepancy

With God's Grace in jeopardy of being shut down over zoning discrepancy (WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - With God's Grace food pantry feeds more than 600 families a week, but now they're in jeopardy of being shut down over a zoning discrepancy.

Director Nicole Adkins said she will risk jail time to keep feeding those in need when she exclusively spoke with FOX 45's Kelly May.

Adkins said it's the same problem that forced the pantry out of the Northridge area more than a year ago: a complaint from a neighbor about people lining up outside to wait for food on distribution day.

The city is not answering FOX 45's calls about why this zoning problem wasn't fixed before they opened at their new location.

With God's Grace is one of Dayton's largest food distributions, serving just less than 100,000 families in 2017.

"We have families that are counting on us in the community," Adkins said.

She said zoning and city officials told her the warehouse on Springfield Street is zoned in a way that it's a violation to have patrons outside.

"That's the biggest thing is they don't want people outside the building," Adkins explained. "The line has been outside, but it's been on our property and around our building only."

Adkins showed FOX 45 the violations the pantry was slapped with by Dayton zoning and the fire marshal, which tell Adkins she can't operate until the zoning fixes are made.

"The only two things that they're waiting on is that we have no control or approval for," Adkins said. "I feel like someone is singling us out."

A FOX 45 viewer were donated the East Dayton warehouse space after our story in 2016, when neighboring tenants in the Northridge area also complained about pantry patrons.

Since then, after a fire tore down the only nearby grocery store Food For Less, The pantry has been essential.

"Since the Food For Less Fire went down, the families that are coming are walking," Adkins said.

Adkins said to feed families again, she will have to make her case at a hearing to rezone the warehouse as a "community center" or face six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

"I'm going to feed people, so if I have to go to jail just get me out you guys, so I can feed you guys next week!" Adkins joked.

FOX 45 left two messages on the zoning administrator's cell phone but did not hear back.

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