Geneseo Food Pantry receives $250,000

Lisa Depies
The Geneseo Food Pantry's building campaign received a $250,000 donation from the Geneseo Foundation. Foundation chairman Bryce Chamberlain, left, presents the donation to food pantry employees Jolynn 
Kitterman and Nicole Freadhoff.

When Geneseo businessman George B. Dedrick died in 1960, he left $1 million to establish the Geneseo Foundation.

Dedrick’s hope was for the funds to be used to assist charitable, civic or education institutions.

In the more than five decades since its creation, the Geneseo Foundation has helped fund civic projects of all scopes and sizes.

On Monday, Nov. 28, the Geneseo Foundation contributed $250,000 to the Geneseo Food Pantry’s building campaign.

Geneseo Food Pantry representative Jolynn Kitterman called the donation “humbling.”

“We’re so incredible blessed in this community, and we’re so grateful that people recognize how important our mission is,” she said.

With the addition of the $250,000 donation, the food pantry’s building campaign fund now stands at just over $632,000.

“The Geneseo Foundation donation puts us over the halfway mark,” said Kitterman. The goal is to raise $1 million.

The Geneseo Ministerial Association, which oversees the food pantry, purchased property including a former convenience store at 550 Dilenbeck Drive.

The land is just shy of an acre and features a brick structure, built in 1986.

The plan is to add on to the existing structure to create a new food pantry building.

The current Geneseo Food Pantry location at 217 N. Russell was built in the early 1900s. The food pantry has outgrown its present facility.

At the current food pantry, clothing is available on the second floor, which makes it unaccessible for handicapped clients. The new site will be one level.

Bryce Chamberlain, chairman of the Geneseo Foundation board, said foundation board members evaluate funding requests to see if they meet the charitable and civic needs of the community.

Dedrick’s bequest also indicated funds could be used “for the care of the sick, aged, handicapped, orphaned and helpless and the care of needy men, women and children” as well as for “providing facilities for public recreation, comfort and convenience.”

Chamberlain said the Geneseo Food Pantry’s mission “is basically what the Geneseo Foundation is all about.”

Born in 1872, Dedrick was the son of John and Frances Dedrick.

His father had started a grocery business in downtown Geneseo in 1869, and, at the age of 19, Dedrick purchased a quarter interest in his father’s firm.

He stocked dry goods to complement the grocery sales.

In 1902, Dedrick served as president of Geneseo’s first Retail Merchants Association. After the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1922, Dedrick served as president in 1930 and 1931.

He served 10 years as president of the City Telephone Co., forerunner to the Geneseo Telephone Co.

Dedrick was a board member for the Geneseo Public Library from 1898 until his death in 1960. The current library bears his name.

When Central Trust and Savings Bank opened in 1907, Dedrick was one of the original shareholders and served as a vice president. He also held the office of Central Bank president for 39 years.

In creating the foundation, Dedrick specified the board of directors at Central Bank serve as the board of managers for the foundation.

Over the course of the past 50-plus years, other individuals have supported and contributed to the Geneseo Foundation, increasing Dedrick’s original $1 million contribution to more than $9.2 million today.

A total of $10.5 million has been distributed in the five decades of the foundation’s existence.