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Fairfield Food Pantry receives largest gift ever from local business

MH Equipment donated more than $23,500 to the Fairfield Food Pantry through donations made to the company’s internal foundation, His First Foundation. The foundation’s mission is “to share the love of Jesus Christ as well as meeting the physical needs of people in His name” to non-denominational organizations. CONTRIBUTED
MH Equipment donated more than $23,500 to the Fairfield Food Pantry through donations made to the company’s internal foundation, His First Foundation. The foundation’s mission is “to share the love of Jesus Christ as well as meeting the physical needs of people in His name” to non-denominational organizations. CONTRIBUTED

A West Chester Twp. business gave the Fairfield Food Pantry its largest-ever cash donation in May, more than $23,000.

“This donation will help us to keep our doors open to those in need during these uncertain times,” said Dan Grabowski, Fairfield Food Pantry secretary and treasurer.

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During the novel coronavirus pandemic, MH Equipment, a material handling company, committed to not lay off employees. Instead, the company encouraged employees to use downtime as volunteers in the community. It also encouraged employees to make a six-week cash donations to the company’s His First Foundation, an internal charitable program.

These donations were matched by the company and resulted in more than $180,000 in financial contributions to various organizations, including more than $23,500 to the Fairfield Food Pantry. There are 30 branches of MH Equipment but the largest is the Cincinnati branch in West Chester Twp.

“People matter, passion inspires and purpose unites. That’s the culture of our company,” said Paul Hagedorn, MH Equipment’s Cincinnati and Columbus director of operations. “I’m humbled to know that so many of them gave up their personal wages to make this happen.”

The His First Foundation has a mission “to share the love of Jesus Christ as well as meeting the physical needs of people in His name” to non-denominational organizations, according to the company.

The Fairfield Food Pantry was co-founded two decades ago by Howard and Judy Dirksen. Howard Dirksen died last year, and Judy Dirksen remains actively involved in the pantry, and she was the one who opened the check from MH Equipment.

“What a wonderful day that was,” she said. “I remember opening that and having to pass that information on to everyone. That was so exciting.”

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The company was recognized by Fairfield City Council last week as Councilman Bill Woeste, a trustee on the food pantry’s board, read a proclamation declaring June 26, 2020, as MH Equipment Day in Fairfield.

“With this proclamation, we hope that we unofficially get you into the family of Fairfield,” Woeste said.