Kroger Community Pantry, operated by Mid-Ohio Foodbank, recently opened in Grove City at the Foodbank's 3960 Brookham Drive location.

Kroger Community Pantry, operated by Mid-Ohio Foodbank, recently opened in Grove City at the Foodbank's 3960 Brookham Drive location.

The pantry will be open three days each week, from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. It will operate under the same guidelines that other Mid-Ohio Foodbank partner pantries follow.

"We know that there's a need for it in the area," communication and marketing director Colin Baumgartner said.

The pantry will give the Foodbank, which usually operates as a supplier to participating area pantries, a chance to provide direct service to the community.

"We've never had clients visit our facility for something of this nature," Baumgartner said.

Funding for the pantry came from a three-year campaign the Foodbank began upon locating in Grove City in 2009. That campaign raised more than $16 million, Baumgartner said. Kroger has been the lead contributor.

Kroger doesn't release exact donation numbers, said Jackie Siekmann, spokesperson for Kroger's Columbus Division.

"Our No. 1 charitable initiative at Kroger is hunger relief. We work very hard with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to meet the ongoing demand for food. If we can help put dinner on the table for a few more families in central Ohio, then we are doing our job as a responsible community partner," Siekmann said.

The Foodbank also received a $25,000 grant from Safelite AutoGlass Foundation for the pantry's first-year operations. One new position, a pantry coordinator, was created to run the facility.

Baumgartner estimated the pantry will serve about 200 families per month. Grove City Food Pantry and Calvary Community Church on Norton Road, which partner with the Foodbank, are working at capacity.

"This is an opportunity to assist them a little bit," he said.

Operating its own pantry will enable the Foodbank to share its best practices with its other partnering pantries, Baumgartner said.