The Freestore Foodbank began in 1971. Its early beginnings come with a story – a man with a heart to help others. Frank Gerson, a worker at Cincinnati’s incinerator, saw useable household items being tossed away. He began collecting those items and distributing them to disadvantaged families.
Gerson named his practice the Free Store. He incorporated it as a public charity, quit his job, and opened for business in his apartment.
In 1979, the Free Store became a founding member of Feeding America, evolving into the Freestore Foodbank, and began distributing food to our hungry neighbors.
Today the Freestore Foodbank is one of over 200 food banks within the Feeding America network serving communities across the nation.
It’s all thanks to a man with a heart to help others. Learn more about our early beginnings in this piece that’s So Cincinnati… watch video
The Freestore Foodbank is also a member of:
Now under the leadership of Kurt Reiber, the Freestore Foodbank is one of Ohio’s largest food banks, distributing 23 million meals annually through a network of 350 community partner agencies serving 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. This includes food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, community centers, program sites, senior centers and daycare facilities.
Become more familiar with Kurt and our team working each day to help fight hunger and bring hope to those who need it most. Our Board of Directors is leading the way for us to find innovative ways to be self-sustaining in today’s economy.
What the Freestore Foodbank is about
Food is a vehicle for a larger conversation, aimed at helping to create stability and self-reliance for our neighbors.
We provide food and services, create stability, and further self-reliance for people in crisis.
To be the leader of a community mobilized to end hunger and address its causes.
Our Core Values
Commitment: We will not accept hunger.
Compassion: We embrace diversity.
Respect: We are in service with our neighbors.
Empowerment: Those we serve can succeed independently.
Community: We collaborate with others in our region.
When people come to the Freestore Foodbank’s Customer Connection Center, located at 112 East Liberty Street, for food, we also help connect them to additional resources to help create stability.
Services made available include:
At the Freestore Foodbank’s Mayerson Distribution Center, located at 1250 Tennessee Avenue in Bond Hill, all food is sorted and distributed to help hungry families and children in our Tri-State area. The Freestore Foodbank accepts donations from canned food drive, government agencies, wholesalers, retailers and produce farmers.
With a growing need in the community, the Freestore Foodbank has a goal to eliminate a 30 million meal gap by distributing 50 million meals by our 50th anniversary in 2021.
Our Strategic Plan breaks down how we plan to reach that goal.
You can join us in helping to make a difference. With every dollar donated, the Freestore Foodbank is able to provide three meals to hungry children and families in the Tri-State area. Your support goes a long way. 94% of donations go directly to programs and services.
As a non-profit, the Freestore Foodbank prides itself in being open and transparent about where our donors’ dollars are going.
Be a part of the fight against hunger by joining our staff.
Our newsletters and Annual Reports provide a more in-depth look at some of the work the Freestore Foodbank is doing in the community.