Archive for Media

Story in Pictures August 2017

Mediaon September 6th, 2017Comments Off on Story in Pictures August 2017

23rd Annual Rubber Duck Regatta

Thank you for supporting our biggest fundraising event of the year – the Rubber Duck Regatta.   September 3, 2017 turned out to be a gorgeous day in Cincinnati and it was joyful to watch more than 173,000 duckies swimming down the Ohio River.  The campaign lasted for several weeks and there were many memorable moments. Here are a few pics that hopefully capture the essence of the event.

Cincinnati State Farmers Market

We are proud to partner with Cincinnati State Technical and Community College to host a Farmer’s Market on campus every third Thursday of the month at 11:30 am. The Freestore Foodbank delivers 1,200 lbs. of fresh produce to the college, offering a rich variety of fruits and veggies for students to pick from. The market is open to all registered students and has become an extremely popular feature. Thank you to the faculty and staff of Cincinnati State for supporting the fight against hunger on college campuses.

LIFT the TriState Update

Participants of Lift the TriState have completed six weeks of training and they have done phenomenally well. Most of them have completed Forklift Certification. Amazon’s recruitment officer, Jason Jones visited them a few weeks ago and spoke to them on the ins and outs of recruitment.  Graduation is scheduled for October 13, 2017 and we are eagerly looking forward to it.

Freezer Delivery

Thank you to the Kentucky Association of Food Banks, Farm Credit Mid-America, Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Kentucky Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles for delivering 15 freezers to our warehouse in Wilder, Kentucky this week. The freezers will be distributed to our partner agencies in Kentucky. We are thankful for the enhanced cold storage capacity these freezers will provide to our partner-agencies.

The Volunteer Connection September 2017

Mediaon September 6th, 2017Comments Off on The Volunteer Connection September 2017

Thank You Volunteers



Hundreds of volunteers supported the Rubber Duck Regatta throughout August – on the day of the event and on the days following the race. Without their dedication and support, our largest fundraiser would not have been successful. The Freestore Foodbank is greatly appreciative of the work and commitment put forth by our amazing volunteers!


A Company Project – Adopt –A – Family for the Christmas Holiday

Are you in need of a company project during the holiday season or just looking for a new family tradition for your family? We have a great project just for you!

Become a Family’s Donor
Share in the spirit of the holidays by helping other families enjoy the season. Become a donor and purchase gifts for one of our Freestore Foodbank families that participate in our Housing, Direct Rent, and Shelter Diversion programs. Adopt – A – Family is an annual program that helps over 200 customers during the holidays. Your generosity will provide a great sense of value and worth to these families and clearly demonstrate in a meaningful way that others really care about them.  For more information about adopting a family or helping with gift purchases, please email: or call 513-720-6099.

The Holidays are Coming Soon:  Be on the lookout in our next Volunteer Connection October issue for our Holiday Roundup of Upcoming Events!



Thank you to the following groups for your support in August 2017!
We sincerely appreciate their continued support and contribution of their time.

Mayerson Distribution Center (Tennessee Avenue)
Giving Fields (Melbourne, KY)
Food Room (Liberty Street)

Partner with a Shared Vision

Mediaon September 6th, 2017Comments Off on Partner with a Shared Vision

Partner with a Shared Vision

Tucked away in the heart of Wyoming, OH is an unpretentious brown building. In its cool interior is an abundance of useful treasures – food, clothes, toys, pillows, diapers, household appliances, pots and pans, shoes and even purses. This is Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center, an important partner to the Freestore Foodbank. Valley Interfaith provides emergency resources and services that support crisis prevention and sustainability. “Our mission is to try to intercede in the cycle of poverty and transition from just serving as a Band-Aid at the moment of crisis to providing long term assistance,” says John Keuffer, Executive Director.

Partner with a Shared VisionValley Interfaith opened its doors in 1963 when a family knocked on the doors of the Church of the Ascension and Holy Trinity asking for help. Since then, they have grown steadily and currently serve close to 100 households per week. They recently put together an innovative new strategic plan and hired Keuffer. The strategic plan aims at partnering with community resources to help individuals lead stable lives that are sustainable. Keuffer believes that food and clothing form the basis for building stability. “If someone’s hungry they cannot think about long-term plans. If someone’s cold they are not going to be able to engage in a meaningful way,” observes Keuffer. This is where the Freestore Foodbank comes in. “The Freestore Foodbank is a long standing partner. We are grateful for their support. They help us do what we do effectively,” says Keuffer.  Wyoming, OH is a deeply caring and progressive community. The Freestore Foodbank supplements what local grocery stores and bakeries donate on a weekly basis. Private individuals supply items such as clothing, personal hygiene products and household goods.  Valley Interfaith is currently open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and on Wednesday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Partner with a Shared VisionSimilar to the Freestore Foodbank, Valley Interfaith is focused on developing a continuum of care. Food and clothing are primary resources.  Keuffer finds that providing basic needs in life, like food and clothing, is the first step towards building longstanding relationships with clients. However he tries to complement these basic items with additional care that will break the cycle of poverty. Valley Interfaith plans to implement case management and therapy services in the near future. “Many clients have serious barriers to stability. About 20% of our clients indicate a drug addiction issue and about 30% have mental health issues. And then there are the homeless, the elderly with severe medical issues, etc.” Keuffer adds.  The goal is to be able to address these barriers in order to get to the root cause and take care of the individual as a whole. Many of Valley Interfaith’s clients are local residents. “Folks who live in the suburbs do not want to travel downtown to take advantage of programs. It is a transportation issue and also a familiarity issue. There is a large population that needs help right here,” says Keuffer.

Partner with a Shared VisionThe Freestore Foodbank appreciates its partnership with Valley Interfaith. “The Freestore Foodbank’s CEO is a Wyoming resident and we appreciate the fact that he stops by regularly. He has been very supportive. Freestore Foodbank has also helped us secure additional funding through grants and also by building additional capacity.” Keuffer adds. The Freestore Foodbank greatly appreciates having a trusted and committed partner in Valley Interfaith and we look forward to working together to end hunger.

Power Packs Welcome Kids Back to School

Mediaon September 6th, 2017Comments Off on Power Packs Welcome Kids Back to School

Back to School With a Full Belly

On the outskirts of downtown Cincinnati, in the West End area stands an eye-catching, modern building. It is Hays-Porter Elementary, the neighborhood school that is known for its advanced High Technology Program and innovative approach to education. The school makes an iPad or laptop available to every student and teaches state-of-the-art technology and robotics.  In spite of its advanced curriculum, Hays-Porter sits in a very poor neighborhood and 99% of its students are on the free lunch program.

Back to School With a Full BellyHays-Porter is part of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast program called Community Eligibility Provision whereby a healthy lunch and breakfast are available free of charge to all students who attend the school. Hays-Porter is also one of the many schools in town to which the Freestore Foodbank delivers Kids Cafe, a program that provides free, nutritious meals to children at the end of the school day so that they do not go hungry in the evenings.

Hays-Porter has a robust after-school program with several exciting enrichment programs such as hip-hop, art, ballet and African dance. The after-school program also provides other essential services such as mentoring, tutoring, building parent engagement and working to boost Back to School With a Full Bellystudent test scores. Victoria Matchett is the After-School Coordinator at Hays-Porter Elementary. She works closely with the Freestore Foodbank in administering the Kids Cafe Program at the school. The program guarantees children a balanced meal at the end of the school day. There is always protein (be it chicken, turkey or a hamburger), vegetables, fruit and bread. The Freestore Foodbank also supplies milk. “We eat like a family. We sit around a table, there is lots of laughter and conversation and the food is good,” Victoria observes. “The children look forward to it because for most of them this is the only meal they get before they go to bed.”

Back to School With a Full BellyFreestore Foodbank also distributes Power Packs at Hays-Porter. Power Packs are packages of food that are sent home with kids so they have something to eat over the weekend. Richara Richardson is the Resource Coordinator at Hays-Porter. She works closely with the Freestore Foodbank on the delivery and distribution of Power Packs. Hays Porter has a formal referral process to identify kids who would qualify to receive a Power Pack. It is an extremely popular program. “The students love it. It is one of those things that they look forward to every week,” says Richara.

The Freestore Foodbank values its partnership with Hays-Porter Elementary and we enjoy working with them to serve their students and the community. To learn more about the Freestore Foodbank’s Power Pack and Kids Cafe programs click here.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Mediaon September 6th, 2017Comments Off on Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait“I bathed copses, dressed them and cut their hair. I never thought twice about it. I believed it was God’s work.” Dexter Daniels-Fleming sat across the table from me and smiled, his eyes lighting up with kindness and humor as he caught the quickly-concealed look of horror on my face. Dexter grew up in the West End of Cincinnati. He played basketball and baseball in high school. After graduating high school, Dexter attended Wilmington College for a couple years. He got married and worked in a steel factory. Dexter had five beautiful children. Life went smoothly until his wife unexpectedly passed away from cancer.

Dexter suddenly found himself a single parent with five little kids. He turned to his extended family for support. His brothers pitched in and together they raised his kids while he worked several jobs. “It was every bit a family affair,” he says. “I could not have raised those kids without support and help from my family.” He started working at a local hospital as a janitor and then went back to school to become a nurse’s aide.  He worked there for many years, until the hospital abruptly enforced a policy to not employ individuals with a felony record. Dexter, who had committed a minor felony many years ago, was laid off. In disbelief and shock, Dexter pleaded to be allowed to continue, arguing that he had been a good employee and that the felony had taken place long ago.  In spite of everything he did to fight it, Dexter was let go and found himself unemployed with several mouths to feed and bills to pay.

Good Things Come to Those Who WaitQuite by chance, Dexter found employment at a local funeral home. He started in maintenance, but soon became the go-to guy for everything. He drove the limo and sometimes the hearse, fixed everything, helped embalm and dress corpses. “Working in a funeral home was not easy. I saw death every day. But I did not let it get to me. It actually brought me closer to God and put life in a different perspective, ” Dexter remembers.  He felt he was there for a reason and found it oddly satisfying to help those who were faced with loss and grief. He worked there until the funeral home changed hands and new management brought in their own staff. Dexter was laid off.  Desperate to make ends meet, he and his brothers started a small convenience store in their neighborhood. He also went back to school at Gateway Community and Technical College and started studying Human Services.

A month ago, Dexter found himself attending a Community Job Fair. He was of course looking for stable employment. He also needed to update his Forklift Certification from a long time ago.  To his surprise, he ran into someone there who handed him a flyer for the Freestore Foodbank’s LIFT the TriState Program. “It was a strange coincidence. I felt like it was meant to be. This program Good Things Come to Those Who Waitseemed like the answer to my prayers.” Dexter applied to the program, with the feeling that he was doing what he was meant to do all his life. “My goal was to complete this program and find employment at the Freestore Foodbank,” Dexter comments. “I believe in the Freestore Foodbank’s mission and I want to give back to the community as best as I can – especially since I have studied Human Services.”

Dexter is now halfway through the program. “This has been a wonderful experience,” he remarks. “I am thankful for all the help and support I am receiving. I feel confident that I will be able to find a stable position after I graduate from this program.” Graduation is planned for October 13, 2017.  Dexter has renewed his Forklift Certification and is already interviewing with major logistics firms for a full-time position. However his hope is that he will end up working for the Freestore Foodbank.

To learn more about the LIFT the TriState, go to

Giving Back in a Big Way

Mediaon September 6th, 2017Comments Off on Giving Back in a Big Way
(The Belflex Team - Bob Baer, Jay Clawson and Casey Wagonfield)

(The Belflex Team – Bob Baer, Jay Clawson and Casey Wagonfield)

BelFlex Staffing Network is the leading provider of flexible workforce solutions to industrial clients in the Greater Cincinnati Area. What many may not know is their strong commitment to reinvesting in the community.  As Chairman Candace D. McCaw explains, “When you live and do business in a community, you have a duty to give back.” And through a partnership with Freestore Foodbank, Candace and her family are giving back in a big way.

LIFT the TriState stands for Logistics, Inventory management, Facilities management and Transportation. It was only a dream of Freestore Foodbank to provide free training to under-employed and unemployed individuals in the logistics field until BelFlex and the McCaw Family Charitable Fund helped make it a reality. Through their financial investment in the start-up needs of the program, and the invaluable support of the BelFlex Team (led by Bob Baer, Jay Clawson and Casey Wagonfield) in developing the program design, both the Company and the family have helped make this vital resource available to local families struggling to find a stable and sustainable career.

Giving back is nothing new to Candace and her husband Mike, CEO of BelFlex Staffing Network. The company’s mission, and passion, is helping people, organizations and communities succeed—what they call “Succeeding Together.” BelFlex was recently selected for both the 2017 Medical Mutual Pillar SHARE Award for employee-driven community service in greater Cincinnati and the 2017 Inavero Best of Staffing Client Award for client satisfaction. In addition, BelFlex’s Junior Mentoring Program works with high school students in BelFlex markets throughout the Midwest and Southeast to inspire them to explore and build careers in growing industrial fields.

(The McCaw family)

(The McCaw Family – Jason, Matthew, Candace, Michael, and Amanda McCaw Steele)

BelFlex and the McCaw Family were looking for new ways to align their giving with the needs of its clients and employees, when former Freestore Foodbank Board Member, Mike Collette, connected them with the vision Kurt Reiber, CEO of Freestore Foodbank, had for the LIFT the Tristate program.  The program’s first class started in July and will receive free hands-on training, industry recognized certification and direct linkage to potential employers. With the help of two other important partners, Gateway Community & Technical College and the Life Learning Center, LIFT the TriState evolved into a comprehensive 12-week course that can be a first step to a college degree and a fulfilling career in the growing logistics field.

As regional employment opportunities continue to grow in logistics and transportation, LIFT the Tristate will provide people that might otherwise have a difficult time finding employment with the skills to build a sustainable and fulfilling career. At the same time, businesses will now have greater access to the workforce they need to grow and prosper. In the process, the greater Cincinnati community will become stronger and the line at Freestore Foodbank will become shorter. LIFT the Tristate is truly a “Succeeding Together” solution.

LIFT the TriState is now accepting applications for its next class starting in early 2018 and Freestore Foodbank would love to hear how your company could become involved to help support meaningful careers in the region.

To learn more about lift go to

LIFT the TriState

Mediaon September 6th, 2017Comments Off on LIFT the TriState

LIFT The TriState

On July 24, 2017 the Freestore Foodbank launched LIFT the TriState, a 12-week job training program that teaches essential skills in Logistics, Inventory Management, Facilities Management and Transportation. The goal of the program is to provide job training to unemployed and underemployed adults that will help them find employment in the warehousing or transportation industry.  The program was launched in partnership with Gateway Community and Technical College, Life Learning Center and Belflex Staffing Network.

(Students with Freestore Foodbank’s Freestore Foodbank LIFT the TriState Manager, William McAleenan)

(Students with Freestore Foodbank’s Freestore Foodbank LIFT the TriState Manager, William McAleenan)

The course includes one week of introductory classes in basic math, reading and computer training followed by seven weeks of coursework in forklift operation, OSHA guidelines, Microsoft Office as well as 30 hours of hands-on training. In addition, participants receive four weeks of training in resume building, mock interviews, job fairs, on-site interviews and job searching.

 (L-R Denise Govan, Alicia Webb-Edgington, Robert Venable, Life Learning Center)

(L-R Denise Govan, Alicia Webb-Edgington, Robert Venable, Life Learning Center)

At the end of the program, participants receive their Certified Logistics Associate Certificate, Certificate of Completion from Life Learning Center, Servsafe Food Handler Certification, Forklift Certification, and LIFT the TriState Certification.

(Angie Praiswater, Gateway Community and Technical College)

(Angie Praiswater, Gateway Community and Technical College)

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, jobs in the transportation and warehousing industry in Cincinnati are expected to grow by 6.8% by 2022 which will bring roughly 2,700 jobs to our area.

To learn more about how to apply to LIFT the TriState, go to

The Volunteer Connection August 2017

Mediaon August 3rd, 2017Comments Off on The Volunteer Connection August 2017

Corporate Volunteer Groups: 84.51


Corporate Volunteer Groups: 84.51

All across the agency, staff and volunteers are preparing for the Rubber Duck Regatta. On Sunday, September 3, 2017 over 170,000 rubber ducks will be dumped into the Ohio River, hopefully raising over a million dollars to help provide food and services to our neighbors in need. Preparations for the regatta begin weeks in advance. Before the race, ducks are shipped in from all over the country. Each duck comes with a tag which is removed and replaced with another tag, before getting loaded into a huge truck that will carry it to the river. This is one of the most important steps in getting the ducks ready to race and will take place two weeks prior to the event at the Mayerson Distribution Center. As you can imagine, it takes many, many volunteers to accomplish this in a short period of time.

For the past many years, 84.51 has taken on the challenge to help the Freestore pluck and tag ducks prior to the Rubber Duck Regatta. This year, 84.51 has committed to volunteering in 6 out of the 10 shifts needed to get our ducks ready for the big day. Thanks to their commitment and to others in our community, we know this huge task will be accomplished!



It’s Duck Season at the Freestore Foodbank! We Have a Variety of Volunteer Opportunities Just for YOU!!

Check Out Duck Store Monitors: Adopt a Kroger Store
Get Ready to Have a Quacktabulous Good Time: Quacky, the Rubber Duck Regatta Mascot
Help Sell the Winning Duck: Kroger Weekend Duck Sales
Duck Central Volunteers: Take Duck Sales Calls
Get our Ducks Ready for the Big Race: Duck Plucking and Tagging Volunteers
The Grand Finale: Rubber Duck Regatta


It’s Time to Harvest at the Giving Fields
Sign up to pack Power Packs at the Distribution Center this fall!

Check out the volunteer registration and information page to learn how to sign up to volunteer for our ongoing group and individual volunteer opportunities at the Mayerson Distribution Center, Customer Connection Center’s Food Room, and Giving Fields.

Food Drives
Employment Opportunities


Thank you to the following groups for your support July 2017!
We sincerely appreciate their continued support and contribution of their time.

Mayerson Distribution Center (Tennessee Avenue)
Giving Fields (Melbourne, KY)

Story in Pictures – July 2017

Mediaon August 3rd, 2017Comments Off on Story in Pictures – July 2017

July was a very busy month at the Freestore Foodbank.  Among other things, we launched a new workforce development program, opened a new mobile pantry at the VA Medical Center and packed our first Power Packs for the upcoming school year.

Lift the TriState Launch

On July 13, 2017 we officially launched LIFT THE TRISTATE our new, 12-week workforce development program which will be based out of our Distribution Center in Wilder, Kentucky. We appreciate support from our partners Belflex Staffing Network, Life Learning Center and Gateway Community and Technical College. LIFT the TriState will offer FREE job training in logistics, inventory management, facilities management and transportation. Thanks to Secretary Hal Heiner for joining us for the ceremony.

Senator Cecil Thomas visits and Class 161 of Cincinnati COOKS! graduates!

CONGRATULATIONS to Class 161 of Cincinnati COOKS! We are very proud of you. And special thanks to Ohio State Senator Cecil Thomas who joined us for the graduation ceremony.

LIFT the TriState classes begin

On July 24, 2017 classes officially started for LIFT THE TRISTATE, our new Workforce Development Program. LIFT THE TRISTATE is a FREE 12-week program that offers under and unemployed adults job training for employment in the warehousing and transportation industry. LIFT stands for Logistics, Inventory Management, Facilities Management and Transportation.

VA Pantry Opens

As a result of a new partnership between Feeding America and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, we launched a new mobile pantry this afternoon at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. It gives us immense satisfaction to be able to distribute fresh fruits, vegetables and shelf-stable items to our veterans. Thank you to the Cincinnati VA Medical Center for working with us to make this possible. The mobile pantry is scheduled for August 24, September 22, October 26, November 22 and December 28 of this year from 2:30 to 4:30 pm.

First Power Packs get Packed

Summer is almost over! We just packed our first Power Packs for the upcoming school year. Power Packs are packs of food that the Freestore Foodbank sends home with kids on Fridays during the school year to ensure that they have something to eat over the weekend. We are especially thankful to Ohio National Financial Services for their help. Let us continue our fight to end childhood hunger!

A Sponsor with a Vision

Mediaon August 3rd, 2017Comments Off on A Sponsor with a Vision

A Sponsor with a Vision

Bill Dankworth grew up in a large family with eight children.  “There was always food on the table. However, there were plenty of times when it was far from abundant,” he remembers.  His early experiences in life made him passionate about fighting hunger. Bill believes that no one should go hungry, that food should be available to everyone in a consistent manner and that it should be healthy, clean and nutritious.

Bill’s relationship with the Freestore Foodbank started nearly 40 years ago. While working at Kroger in the early 80’s, his department got involved in the first “food reclamation programs” that the Freestore Foodbank embarked upon.  As years passed and the Freestore Foodbank grew, Bill continued to stay involved.  Although his job at Kroger forced him to relocate to other cities in the Midwest he supported foodbanks wherever he lived. In Indianapolis he volunteered at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and when he moved to Michigan he joined the Board of Directors at Detroit Food Bank.

In 2002 Bill returned to Cincinnati. Within a few months he was invited to join the Board of Trustees at the Freestore Foodbank.  He served on the Board for 12 years. In 2004 the late Bob Edwards, who started the Rubber Duck Regatta for the Freestore Foodbank asked Bill to get involved in the event on behalf of Kroger. Since then, he has continued to support the fundraiser in various capacities, keeping up his efforts even after officially retiring from Kroger five years ago.

A Sponsor with a VisionBill currently serves on the Rubber Duck Regatta Steering Committee, working hard with sponsors and community partners to make the campaign more efficient and effective. Most recently, he helped forge an alliance between two marketing giants, Advantage Solutions and Acosta Sales and Marketing to benefit the regatta. Advantage and Acosta are fierce rivals who vie with each other for business with Kroger. However, under Bill’s stewardship they decided to collaborate to benefit the community and strengthen the fight against hunger. Thanks to this alliance, they will together contribute $200,000 to the Rubber Duck Regatta this year. “This was not an easy move for either one of the companies,” Bill observes. “However, they put their differences aside and united behind this cause because they knew that together they could make a greater impact than if they were to do it alone.” Bill is proud of his contribution, and Freestore Foodbank is extremely grateful for his support.