About Our Work
What is the Freestore Foodbank?
The Freestore Foodbank of Cincinnati, Ohio is the largest emergency food provider in the Tri-State area, serving a 20 county region in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. We purchase, solicit and collect donated food from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and government agencies and distribute it to more than 275 partnership agencies (churches, food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, outreach centers, and after-school/summer programs) that provide free food to those in need. The Freestore Foodbank is a member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks and food rescue programs. The Freestore Foodbank is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. To download our IRS Form 990, click here.
What is the Freestore Foodbank’s mission?
Our mission is to provide food and services, create stability and further self-reliance for people in crisis. Our vision is to be the leader of a community mobilized to end hunger and address its causes. Our values are Commitment, Compassion, Empowerment and Community.
What are the strategic goals of the Freestore Foodbank?
- 21.5 million meals – 2016
- 23.5 million meals – 2018
Maximize Mission Impact
- Develop and pilot Self-Sufficiency Index
- Evaluate programs for mission fit
- Develop operational plans to engage internal and external support
- Strengthen Governance Committee
- Formalize nomination process
- Implement Board commitment pledge and self-evaluation
- Raise more money
- Leverage volunteer/corporate relationships to enhance volunteer activity and increase donations
- Enhance talent management and relationship development efforts
- Explore regional approach to Customer Connections Center
- Collaborate to improve processes and cash flow
- Develop council of advisory agencies
- Build advocacy efforts to shape policy
Where is the Freestore Foodbank located?
The Freestore Foodbank has four area locations:
Jeff and Darlene Anderson Family Building
1141 Central Parkway
Cincinnati OH 45202
This location houses administrative offices and the Rosenthal Community Kitchen, which is the home to Cincinnati Cooks Catering and our Cincinnati COOKS! culinary job training program
Mayerson Distribution Center
1250 Tennessee Ave.
Cincinnati OH 45229
We receive and distribute millions of pounds of food annually from our Distribution Center, equal to over 16 million meals in 2012. Here, all food is checked for quality and sorted, and our Power Packs are assembled by volunteers.
Customer Connection Center
112 E. Liberty St.
Cincinnati OH 45202
The Customer Connection Center in Over-the-Rhine houses administrative offices, as well as our Food Room where we provide emergency food assistance to thousands of individuals per month. Additionally, we provide referrals to partner agencies that can assist clients with housing, clothing, money management and job assistance.
The Giving Fields
101 Anderson Avenue
Melbourne, KY 41059
The Giving Fields is a community farm that helps alleviate hunger in the community by growing fresh produce for Northern Kentucky agencies of the Freestore Foodbank. The Giving Fields is a project operated in partnership between Freestore Foodbank, Doug and Sheila Bray, the Campbell County Cooperative Extension, and Northern Kentucky partner agencies.
How does the Freestore Foodbank get food?
National and local food manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, brokers and food distributors donate food and supplies to the Freestore Foodbank, including packaged, canned, perishable and non-perishable food, which meet all food safety and nutrition standards. Additionally, virtual as well as traditional canned food drives total thousands of meals donated by the community. Fresh produce and prepared foods are donated by many grocery retailers including Kroger, Walmart, Rempke-biggs and Meijer. In order to supply the food programs with specific products, the Freestore Foodbank also purchases large quantities of staple foods and basic supplies at wholesale prices, utilizing donated funds.
How is the food distributed?
Food arrives at the Freestore Foodbank on pallets from retailers or wholesalers or in barrels from community canned food drives. The food is inspected, sorted, labeled and stored at our distribution center for repacking and distribution. Partner agencies order food based on their needs and are able to pick up their orders or have them delivered. Our Mobile Food Pantry carries food to rural areas, where there are gaps in our service. Additionally, our Power Pack and Kids’ Café programs provide thousands of meals monthly to children in need.
How much food is distributed?
In a year’s time, we provide approximately 18 million pounds of food in our region, which is equal to more than 16 million meals.
Who does the Freestore Foodbank serve?
Through our network of 275 partner agencies, the Freestore Foodbank serves our community’s most vulnerable citizens through soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, after-school/summer programs, and senior, youth, rehabilitation and outreach centers. We also partner with local school districts to provide thousands of meals to students from low-income families, through our in-house programs, Kids Cafe and Power Pack.
The Freestore Foodbank also serves the community by offering a free ten-week culinary job training program for adults, called Cincinnati COOKS! As students proceed through the program, they learn life and job skills that ensure their success, in both professional kitchens and in their personal lives. Cincinnati COOKS! students also prepare all of the meals for the Freestore Foodbank Kids’ Cafe program, which provides after-school nutrition for children who might otherwise go hungry.
How can those in need get food from the Freestore Foodbank?
The Freestore Foodbank provides emergency food assistance to individuals in need from the Food Room at our Customer Connection Center in Over-the-Rhine. We also distribute food through our network of 275 partner agencies that feed those in our extended community. Information regarding our emergency Food Room below:
112 E. Liberty St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Monday – Friday*, 8:00am-3:00pm
*The Food Room is closed the first Friday of every month.
What do I need to bring?
When you come to the Customer Connection Center, please bring:
• A state ID/driver’s license
• Proof of current address (utility bill, paycheck stub, phone bill, etc)
• Birth Certificate or Social security card for each person in your household
What types of food donations are acceptable?
We gladly accept your donations at our Customer Connection Center drive-thru bay, located at 112 East Liberty Street in Over-the-Rhine. Our volunteers will unload donations from your car. The drive-thru bay is open:
• 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
• 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Saturday
Most needed food items include: canned fruits and vegetables, cereals, tuna, canned chicken and soups.
The Freestore Foodbank is unable to accept prepared food, due to federal guidelines that requires all donated items to include an explicit label of ingredients. However, we do pick up prepared food from places like Kroger and Great American Ball Park, where the items go straight from the donor to a partner agency that is equipped to distribute it quickly.
Does the Freestore Foodbank sell food?
The Freestore Foodbank does not and cannot sell donated food. In addition, our network of partner agencies are prohibited from selling food intended for those in need. Partner agencies do contribute a small shared maintenance fee to cover operational costs; the rate is charged by the pound and varies by type of food.