Loveland, Ohio – Loveland has always been known as the city of love, hence LOVE-land, but now Loveland is becoming more known as the city that keeps on giving! This has been proven time and time again through the countless ways Loveland and its businesses have given to local charities, families, and food pantries, including Loveland’s LIFE Food Pantry.
LIFE, Loveland Interfaith Effort, Food Pantry has made it its mission to be “a faith and community-supported organization that provides food, financial assistance, and programs to those experiencing hardship in the greater Loveland area.” For years LIFE has serviced the Loveland area out of a 250 square foot space at Prince of Peace Church. This not only made it difficult to meet the high demand of Loveland residents in need of food supplies, but it also didn’t allow those in need to shop for their own items, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic as there was not enough space for social distancing.
For Linda Bergholz, who is the Executive Director of LIFE Food Pantry, it was hard to ignore all the issues in regards to the pantry’s location and spacing, so Linda and her associates went on the hunt for a new location.
Finally, Linda and the Food Pantry crew found the location of their dreams at Shopper’s Haven Plaza, located at 541 Loveland Madeira Road, formerly the Vision Arts Center. LIFE Food Pantry’s new location is 2,000 square feet and just a short walk for those who use the Food Pantry’s services on a weekly basis.
After hearing about this incredible opportunity for LIFE Food Pantry to serve more of those in need of food and more often here at Loveland Magazine we knew we had to visit Linda and the new location!
We are excited to present to you the community of Loveland an exclusive on-camera interview with Linda where she not only shows us the new space but also talks about LIFE’s history and what she sees for the future of the local food pantry! Without further ado here is Loveland Magazine TV’s on-camera interview with Linda Bergholz!
NOTE about the History of L.I.F.E
Unable to find a new “home” the Loveland Free Store closed in 1999. Several months later the community was called together by resident David Miller, while volunteering with the Loveland Shalom Initiative (now the Loveland Initiative) to resurrect a program that was so vital to community life and thus, the L.I.F.E. Food Pantry was founded. Miller (the Publisher of Loveland Magazine) wrote the original business plan for the L.I.F.E Food Pantry.
During the 1980s recession, Eleanor Baker founded the Loveland Free Store in a tiny extension of the laundry room at the MacArthur Park Apartments on Park Avenue.
The Loveland Free Store had humble beginnings and purpose. Eleanor started giving people the food out of her own cabinet and then got other people involved. People in the complex would often have bare pantries, and other tenants sometimes had a little something extra. Moms brought what they could to the laundry room and shared with the other moms so their friend’s children and the elderly would have food to eat.
The laundry room quickly became inadequate when the broader community found out what Eleanor was doing, chipped in and helped her collect food and daily necessities. The program grew and soon began organizing during Thanksgiving and Christmas to provide meals and presents for children. The Loveland Firefighters Association gave them space to operate from their Loveland Firefighter’s Hall at the intersection of St. Rt. 48, Broadway, and Second Street (the 5-Way intersection in Historic Downtown). Eventually, the Firefighters sold their building and it was demolished when the intersection was re-configured to what you see there today.