Archive for Media

Story in Pictures – March 2019

Mediaon March 12th, 2019Comments Off on Story in Pictures – March 2019

February was a busy and fulfilling time for those of us who engage in advocacy. The Freestore Foodbank joined Feeding America and the Kentucky Association of Foodbanks in their advocacy efforts last month. In early February we spent time in Frankfort, KY meeting with our state legislators and sharing information with them on the work that we do and thanking them for their support.  We also spent a day on Capitol Hill meeting with federal legislators and advocating against proposed changes to SNAP that would make it more difficult for our clients to gain access. We were also recognized as an Advocacy Hall of Fame Legend by Feeding America for our outstanding work in advocacy. We also joyfully celebrated another graduation at Cincinnati COOKS! and remain grateful to our donors and volunteers who continue to help us make a difference.

Hunger Free Kentucky Day

We observed Hunger Free Kentucky Day as we gathered in Frankfort, KY along with other Feeding America food banks, partner agencies and community organizations to raise awareness about issues related to hunger and food insecurity. We are thankful to every legislator who made time to attend the event, meet with us and pledge to help us in this critical mission. We are grateful for your support and confident that together we can end hunger!

 

Feeding America Lobby Day

We visited Capitol Hill advocating for the rights of the people we serve. We are extremely thankful to the elected officials and staff members who made time to meet with us, understand the issues and make a commitment to help the people we serve. We thank Feeding America and the Food Research and Action Center for their support and guidance and as always, we remain grateful for the opportunity to help alleviate hunger.

 

Advocacy Hall of Fame

Proud to share that the Freestore Foodbank has been recognized by Feeding America as a 2018 Hall of Fame Legend for our top-tier advocacy program. This is the second year in a row that we have received this wonderful honor. We extend our most sincere thanks to all legislators and their staff at the federal, state and local levels as well as our partners, donors, board members, employees, volunteers and the people we serve for their support.

Cincinnati COOKS! graduation

Congratulations Class 178 of Cincinnati COOKS! We are very proud of you!

 

Thank you Dole Food Company!

A very sweet THANK YOU to Dole Food Company this Valentine’s Day for donating over 1,500 cases of delicious pineapple tidbits to us as a part of their “Let Sunshine In, Drive Hunger Out” campaign.

Thank you Tata Consulting Services!

We are so grateful to our friends at Tata Consulting Services who packed over 1,200 Power Packs today to help feed children in our local schools. Thank you for supporting our mission to reduce hunger.

Volunteer Connection – March 2019

Mediaon March 12th, 2019Comments Off on Volunteer Connection – March 2019

VOLUNTEER

Help Us Turn Hunger
Into Hope in 2019

All volunteers are welcome to join our team as TOGETHER, WE CAN SOLVE HUNGER! Individuals may self-register and groups may request special dates by visiting our website: freestorefoodbank.volunteerhub.com.  Email our Volunteer Engagement Specialist, Carolyn Frank at volunteer@freestorefoodbank.org or call 513-482-7550 for further assistance.

Liberty Street Market (formerly Liberty Street Market)
Located at 112 E. Liberty, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Up to three hundred people depend on the Liberty Street Market daily to provide emergency food for themselves and their families.  Our volunteers sort food, stock shelves, assist customers with their groceries outside of the building and load groceries into shopper’s vehicle in front of the building. Volunteers must be at least 16-years-old (with parental consent) to volunteer at this site.  Help us help our neighbors help themselves!

Liberty Street Market Shifts:  Individuals or groups of 15 or less can schedule a time to volunteer in the Liberty Street Market, Monday through Friday.

Check out this video about the Liberty Street Market: https://youtu.be/JILRvqojr3M


Campbell’s Soup, Wyoming High School Football, and Cincinnati Bengals packed over 2,100 Power Packs!

Mayerson Distribution Center
Located at 1250 Tennessee Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229.

Group and Individual Activities

Calling those who want to make a difference this spring! Help the young in age and young at heart as we pack Power Packs and Senior Boxes in March.

Regular Warehouse Shifts: Shifts are held Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Both individuals and groups are welcome at the Distribution Center. Volunteers must be at least 13 years of age to volunteer. Student 13-18 years old must have parental consent and students 13-15 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. 

Check out TWO Special Volunteer Events for Special Groups!

First Saturdays are Family Saturdays!

Looking for a fun family experience?  Have a couple of hours to give service?  Bring your entire family and help us feed our neighbors.  The warehouse usually has an age restriction of 13 years, but on the first Saturdays of the month, children 8 and older are invited to come with their families to volunteer!  What a great way to serve our community and grow as a family at the same time.  January and February family days were a huge success!  Make sure to register your family before spaces fill up!

Thursday Nights are Student Nights!

Calling all Students (16 and over)! Interested in earning some of your student service hours while having some fun? Reserve your spot and come on out to the Freestore Foodbank’s Mayerson Distribution Center on Thursday nights for Student Nights! Bring some friends and we promise you’ll have a great time helping us solve hunger in our community!  Sign up online.  No Walk Ins please.


The Giving Fields  (scheduling begins March 1st)
Located at 101 Anderson Lane, Melbourne, KY 41059
The Giving Fields is our community farm located in Melbourne, Kentucky – approximately five minutes from NKU. We plant, maintain and harvest fresh produce for our partner food pantries and soup kitchens in Northern Kentucky.  While the farm is drying out from such a wet winter, the staff is busy planning for an exciting spring.  Registration for summer will begin in April. This is a great volunteer opportunity for people of all ages. Families with children five years of age and older, high school and college students, as well as individuals and groups are welcome. The farm is slated to reopen in early April – weather permitting.

Healthy Harvest Mobile Market
At various locations throughout the community
Want to help bring healthy nutritious produce into the community?  Volunteer on a regular basis with the Healthy Harvest Mobile Market!  We are also in need volunteers once a month for the HHMM Clean Up Crew as well.  Contact Brandon Thomas, Volunteer Engagement Specialist at bthomas@freestorefoodbank.org for more details.

Cincinnati Cooks!/Lift the Tri-State Soft/Life Skills Instructors

Cincinnati Cooks! and Lift the Tri-State, FSFB’s premier workforce development programs, are  looking for a few new facilitators to lead their soft/life skill classes.  Topics of interest include: Interviewing 101, Resume Building/Writing, Customer Service, Diet/Nutrition, Effective Communication/Listening, Time Management, Conflict Resolution, and Anger/Stress Management.  If interested, contact Brandon Thomas, Volunteer Engagement Specialist at bthomas@freestorefoodbank.org for more details.

All volunteers are welcome to join our team as TOGETHER, WE CAN SOLVE HUNGER! Individuals may self-register and groups may request special dates by visiting our website: freestorefoodbank.volunteerhub.com.  Email our Volunteer Engagement Specialist, Carolyn Frank at volunteer@freestorefoodbank.org or call 513-482-7550 for further assistance.

Join our Facebook Freestore Foodbank Volunteer Page to view all of our pictures of our exciting volunteers in action in the past few months!

Other Ways to Help

Food and Fund Drives
Donations of canned goods are needed all year around, not just at the holidays! If you
would like to organize a canned food OR fund drive, please contact Bob Barnes at 513-482-4517.

Are you interested in becoming a member of the Freestore Foodbank team? Please click here for our current employment opportunities.


Thank you to the following groups for your support in February 2019!
We sincerely appreciate their continued support and contribution of their time.

Mayerson Distribution Center (Tennessee Avenue)

Assured Partners
Bobbie B. Fairfax School
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincom Systems Inc.
ConstructConnect IT
Cooperative Business Services
Feichtner Garza
Fifth Third Bank
First Commonwealth Bank
Gamble Montessori High School
General Electric
Heidelberg Distributing Company
Hormel Foods
Improv Cincinnati
Ken Anderson Alliance
Kiwanis – Cincinnati
Lakota Kids and Family
Madeira Middle School
Margaret B. Rost School
Messer Construction
P.E.O. Sisterhood, Chapter EG
Pep Promotions
PepsiCo.
Procter and Gamble
Risk Management Association of Greater Cincinnati
Scarlet Oaks High School
Shipt
St. Margaret Knights of Columbus
St. Xavier High School
The Children’s Home
Toyota Boshoku America
Tri-State Freethinkers
Turner Construction
University of Cincinnati
University Of Cincinnati Medical Center
Western Southern Financial

Liberty Street Market

Ameritas
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
Collective Visions, LLC
Easter Seals Tristate
First Group America
Franciscans for the Poor
Gallagher Insurance Select Cares
Mount St. Joseph University
Ohio Association for Justice
The Camargo Club
US Bank
Viaquest – Cincinnati Public Schools

Grace Sferra’s Loyal Commitment to Fighting Hunger

Mediaon March 12th, 2019Comments Off on Grace Sferra’s Loyal Commitment to Fighting Hunger

Grace has been a committed donor and volunteer to Freestore Foodbank for over 30 years.  Like many other loyal supporters, Grace started out by volunteering and donating food and other supplies.  As she strengthened her involvement, she experienced the full scope of what Freestore Foodbank provides to our communities.

“When you first get involved with an organization, you limit what you do,” Grace said. “Once you learn more about the mission and all the services it provides, and you like what you hear, you expand that involvement.”  Grace places a lot of value on seeing firsthand the work she’s supporting, whether through packing Power Packs or savoring a meal prepared by Cincinnati COOKS! participants.  She has enjoyed watching Freestore Foodbank grow through the decades, in the past few years Grace simplified her giving by donating through her IRA account.  She finds it much easier to give charitably this way, in addition to appreciating the other benefits this financial service provides.

Grace’s continued involvement has given her a personal look into the communities we serve. She specifically recalls the time following the 2008 recession when an increased number of people requested Freestore Foodbank’s services.  “During the recession, the loss of a job created havoc in a household regardless of owning a house and car,” she said. “Freestore Foodbank was there to offer temporary assistance.”  Grace has a strong history supporting Freestore Foodbank and looks forward to continuing that connection.

For individuals age 70 ½ or older, the IRA Charitable Rollover is a tax-wise way to support Freestore Foodbank. If you are required to make annual withdrawals from an IRA account, these otherwise taxable distributions can satisfy your annual Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) and exclude these funds from your taxable income.

Each year, you (and your spouse) can transfer as much as $100,000 to Freestore Foodbank for a purpose that you choose.

If you have any questions about an IRA charitable rollover gift, please contact Mindy Hammer, 513-482-7099 or mhammer@freestorefoodbank.org. We would be happy to assist you and answer any questions you might have.

FUEL NKU: Fighting Campus Hunger

Mediaon March 12th, 2019Comments Off on FUEL NKU: Fighting Campus Hunger

When Dr. Jessica Averitt Taylor opened FUEL NKU, a food pantry on the campus of Northern Kentucky University, she knew she would eventually need more space. In the fall of 2018 she met with a team of experts from Kroger.  It was a routine meeting aimed at building a partnership with a local company. Just like any other pubic university, NKU was interested in partnering with local organizations to help the student community. It became clear very quickly that the University’s mission to reduce hunger on campus was perfectly aligned with Kroger’s vision of Zero Hunger Zero Waste.  After the initial meeting, Kroger asked NKU to come up with a plan of what they would need. If the sky’s the limit, what would they ask for? Dr. Taylor went to her Board and with their help she came up with a formal request to Kroger. “We were asking for all the things for which we’d always wished,” she recalls. “There was no promise of any financial help. However we were determined to at least make an attempt.” To the delight of the FUEL NKU team, Kroger expressed an interest in engaging with them. “Kroger was interested in making a big impact on the community through their Zero Hunger Zero Waste program and fortunately, our desire to help feed students who face food insecurity was a great way to do this,” Taylor says.

Work began on Phase 1 of the plan, which was to expand the pantry. Just as in any university, space on campus is at a premium. Fortunately almost all of the faculty and staff at NKU realized the criticality of this project and threw their support behind it. They picked space in the Albright Health Center because it was close to the bus stop, opposite the student parking garage and had a loading dock.

The next phase of the project will include a community center, a full-time program coordinator and case management.  The University is hopeful that they will continue to have the support of their partners and the faculty as they work to make the food pantry a place that provides support and a sense of community to students. “It is wonderful to see students wander in with their friends, grab a cup of coffee, sit down and chat in the pantry,” adds Dr. Taylor. “Hunger can often lead to isolation and our hope is that we are able to reduce that feeling of isolation among our students.”

The demand for food has increased three-fold since the day the expanded pantry opened its doors. In the month of February alone the pantry had 484 visits and gave out 543.5 bags of food and 142 bags of toiletries. With the increase in demand the Freestore Foodbank has had to increase the delivery of fresh produce to the pantry. “The Freestore Foodbank has started delivering fresh produce to us three times a week and for that we are very thankful,” says Jessica Tayor. “We appreciate the partnership with the Freestore Foodbank and Kroger. They have both been critical in helping us fight campus hunger.” To learn more about FUEL NKU go to their website: https://inside.nku.edu/fuelnku.html

To learn more about the work of the Freestore Foodbank go to www.freestorefoodbank.org

CAIN: Getting Ready for HUNGER WALK 2019

Mediaon March 12th, 2019Comments Off on CAIN: Getting Ready for HUNGER WALK 2019

LeRoy James is a Navy veteran who loves to make a difference in the community. His passion to help people first got him involved with CAIN (Churches Active in Northside). And in the last nine years he’s spent time and effort every year organizing a team to participate in the Freestore Foodbank’s Hunger Walk.

“I love to pull people together so that they can work as a team,” LeRoy remarks. “The Hunger Walk allows CAIN to collect money that can be used for purchasing food or for expansion of our facility. It can be used to help our organization move forward. That’s the beautiful thing about it.”

CAIN is a neighborhood ministry that transforms lives. It is located in an area of Cincinnati that is technically a food desert without easy and direct access to fresh food. CAIN’s food pantry offers a wide selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and protein.

CAIN is a partner agency to the Freestore Foodbank and they have been a part of the Hunger Walk since its inception. “The wonderful thing about the Hunger Walk is that it’s an event that the Freestore Foodbank organizes for its partner agencies and it requires minimum effort in terms of planning and coordination from us,” states MiMi Chamberlin, Executive Director of CAIN. “For a small organization such as ours, being able to dedicate every moment we can to help our guests and the community is critical.”

In addition to its choice food pantry, CAIN also hosts a community meal every Monday throughout the year from 5 pm to 6 pm. And since 2016, CAIN’s Grace Place has partnered with the Interfaith Hospitality Network to provide shelter to families.

“I find it gratifying that the money collected through the Hunger Walk comes back to CAIN and can be used to support the people in the local community,” comments Pat Jaeger, a Board Member. “I work in the food pantry at CAIN and I see the need for food every day. I am happy to support the Freestore Foodbank because I love the work that they do in the community.”

Last year CAIN raised close to $25,500 through the Hunger Walk. This year they hope to raise $40,000. The Freestore Foodbank looks forward to working with CAIN and is excited to have them participate in the Hunger Walk again.

Nutrition Starts in Elementary School

Freestore Foodbank | Home, Mediaon March 8th, 2019Comments Off on Nutrition Starts in Elementary School

Home to a diverse population of students, Arnett Elementary in Erlanger, KY opened a school pantry in September last year. They have also been hosting Pop Up Pantries at the school – offering fresh, nutritious produce to families and introducing them to the idea of healthy eating.

Read more

Glenn and Marianne Culbertson

Mediaon February 5th, 2019Comments Off on Glenn and Marianne Culbertson

Glenn and Marianne Culbertson’s involvement with Freestore Foodbank began over 20 years ago through volunteering at holiday food distributions with their young daughters, Shannon and Molly.  They wanted to spark their children’s involvement in philanthropy by making it a part of their family’s holiday tradition.

Glenn has worked at GE Aviation for 34 years as a materials engineer.  He enjoys the culture of philanthropy GE fosters that allows him to fit volunteering into his work day.  He especially enjoys the volunteer opportunities that allow him to help school children get the resources they need to succeed through tutoring and assisting with Power Pack site applications.  Yet, it wasn’t until when his oldest daughter, Shannon, began working for GE that Glenn become fully aware of the power of their corporate matching gift program.  From then on, the Culbertsons began generously donating to Freestore Foodbank, with their gifts matched by GE, in addition to volunteering.  GE’s matching gift program was a great way for the Culbertson family to expand their involvement with Freestore Foodbank.

Marianne equally enjoys the incentive GE provides to encourage charitable giving as Freestore Foodbank’s mission is close to her heart: she believes that access to food and the ability to cook are basic needs.  “Providing a meal for your family is an expression of love,” she said.  As a result of serving on the Board of Education in Mason, she understands the importance of being in a structured learning environment in order to turn things around, especially when someone needs a second chance, which the Cincinnati COOKS! program provides. Marianne loves that Cincinnati COOKS! participants receiving training for the culinary industry, including learning advanced skills through the program.

Glenn and Marianne are looking forward to remaining involved with Freestore Foodbank and volunteering with their grandchildren, Eve and Renee, in the near future.

To see if your donation to Freestore Foodbank is eligible for a matching gift from your employer, contact your human resources department or contact Freestore Foodbank’s Grants Officer, Julie Carpenter at 513-482-7097.

Story In Pictures – February 2019

Mediaon February 5th, 2019Comments Off on Story In Pictures – February 2019

The year has started out with a bang! We scrambled to provide help for the thousands of families affected by the partial government shutdown. We hosted our Annual Meeting, celebrated the graduation of Class 177 of Cincinnati COOKS!, welcomed Class 5 of LIFT the Tristate, opened a new clinic pantry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and represented Cincinnati at the National Taste of the NFL

Congratulations Class 177 of Cincinnati COOKS!

Welcome to Class #5 of LIFT the TriState.

Children’s Hospital Clinic Pantry

We opened our second clinic pantry in collaboration with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Pediatric Primary Care Center in Avondale. The first one was started in July 2017 at the Hopple Street Neighborhood Health Center. Both pantries are made possible through the Bob Edwards Feed A Child Fund. Many young patients and their families face food insecurity and our pantries will offer doctors and their staff an opportunity to provide them with wholesome food options.

County-wide Food Drive for the Feds

Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus kicked off a county-wide food drive at a press conference held at the Freestore Foodbank’s Liberty Street Market with the goal to raise food to meet the higher-than- usual demand expected over the next month as we experience the residual effects of the recent government shutdown.

2019 Annual Meeting

We were happy to hold our Distinguished Speaker Series and Annual Meeting on Thursday Jan 24, 2019. It was an honor to have the CEO of Feeding America Claire Babineaux-Fontenot as our guest speaker. Thanks DBL Law for sponsoring the event.

Taste of the NFL

Proud to represent Cincinnati at the Taste of NFL Party with a Purpose in Atlanta. We thank all the restaurants that participated in the Kick Hunger Challenge and we congratulate Jag’s Steak and Seafood and Chef Michelle for their wonderful support!

Volunteer Connection – February 2019

Mediaon February 5th, 2019Comments Off on Volunteer Connection – February 2019

VOLUNTEER

Help Us Turn Hunger
Into Hope in 2019

All volunteers are welcome to join our team as TOGETHER, WE CAN SOLVE HUNGER! Individuals may self-register and groups may request special dates by visiting our website: freestorefoodbank.volunteerhub.com.  Email our Volunteer Engagement Specialist, Carolyn Frank at volunteer@freestorefoodbank.org or call 513-482-7550 for further assistance.

Liberty Street Market (formerly Liberty Street Market)
Located at 112 E. Liberty, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

The Liberty Street Market (formerly known as the Food Room) has a new and improved look and name!  Consider volunteering in our newly refurbished space and help us serve up to 300 people daily.

Liberty Street Market Shifts:  Individuals or groups of 15 or less can schedule a time to volunteer in the Liberty Street Market, Monday through Friday.  Projects include food sorting, restocking shelves with groceries, assisting customers with their groceries outside of the building and loading groceries in their vehicle in front of the building. Volunteers must be at least 16-years-old (with parental consent) to volunteer at this site.

Check out this video about the Liberty Street Market : https://youtu.be/JILRvqojr3M


Campbell’s Soup, Wyoming High School Football, and Cincinnati Bengals packed over 2,100 Power Packs!

Mayerson Distribution Center
Located at 1250 Tennessee Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229.

Group and Individual Activities
Calling those who want to make a difference this winter! Help the young in age and young at heart as we pack Power Packs and Senior Boxes in February.  Power Packs are bags of food that are given to some area children who usually receive a free or reduced breakfast and lunch at school during the week.  The Power Pack is intended to provide supplemental food to get them through the weekend.  The Senior Box is a box of food given to the elderly to supplement their regular monthly needs as well.

 Regular Warehouse Shifts: Shifts are held Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Both individuals and groups are welcome at the Distribution Center. Volunteers must be at least 13 years of age to volunteer. Student 13-18 years old must have parental consent and students 13-15 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. 

Check out Two Special Volunteer Events for Special Groups!

First Saturdays are Family Saturdays!
Looking for a fun family experience?  Have a couple of hours to give service?  Bring your entire family and help us feed our neighbors.  The warehouse usually has an age restriction of 13 years, but on the first Saturdays of the month, children 8 and older are invited to come with their families to volunteer!  What a great way to serve our community and grow as a family at the same time.

Thursday Nights are Student Nights!
Calling all Students (16 and over)! Interested in earning some of your student service hours while having some fun? Reserve your spot and come on out to the Freestore Foodbank’s Mayerson Distribution Center on Thursday nights for Student Nights! Bring some friends and we promise you’ll have a great time helping us solve hunger in our community!  Sign up online.  No Walk Ins please.


The Giving Fields  (scheduling begins March 1st)
Located at 101 Anderson Lane, Melbourne, KY 41059
The Giving Fields is our community farm located in Melbourne, Kentucky – approximately five minutes from NKU. We plant, maintain and harvest fresh produce for our partner food pantries and soup kitchens in Northern Kentucky. Registration will open at the beginning of March for the 2019 growing season. This is a great volunteer opportunity for people of all ages. Families with children five years of age and older, high school and college students, as well as individuals and groups are welcome. The farm is slated to reopen in early April – weather permitting.

Healthy Harvest Mobile Market
At various locations throughout the community
Want to help bring healthy nutritious produce into the community?  Volunteer on a regular basis with the Healthy Harvest Mobile Market!  We are also in need volunteers once a month for the HHMM Clean Up Crew as well.  Contact Brandon Thomas, Volunteer Engagement Specialist at bthomas@freestorefoodbank.org for more details.

Cincinnati Cooks!/Lift the Tri-State Soft/Life Skills Instructors
Cincinnati Cooks! and Lift the Tri-State, FSFB’s premier workforce development programs, are  looking for a few new facilitators to lead their soft/life skill classes.  Topics of interest include: Interviewing 101, Resume Building/Writing, Customer Service, Diet/Nutrition, Effective Communication/Listening, Time Management, Conflict Resolution, and Anger/Stress Management.  If interested, contact Brandon Thomas, Volunteer Engagement Specialist at bthomas@freestorefoodbank.org for more details.

All volunteers are welcome to join our team as TOGETHER, WE CAN SOLVE HUNGER! Individuals may self-register and groups may request special dates by visiting our website: freestorefoodbank.volunteerhub.com.  Email our Volunteer Engagement Specialist, Carolyn Frank at volunteer@freestorefoodbank.org or call 513-482-7550 for further assistance.

Join our Facebook Freestore Foodbank Volunteer Page to view all of our pictures of our exciting volunteers in action in the past few months!

Other Ways to Help

Food and Fund Drives
Donations of canned goods are needed all year around, not just at the holidays! If you
would like to organize a canned food OR fund drive, please contact Bob Barnes at 513-482-4517.

Are you interested in becoming a member of the Freestore Foodbank team? Please click here for our current employment opportunities.


Thank you to the following groups for your support in January 2019!
We sincerely appreciate their continued support and contribution of their time.

Mayerson Distribution Center (Tennessee Avenue)

Campbell Soup
Case Western Reserve University Alumni
Christ Hospital
Cincinnati Bengals and Staff
Cincinnati Gator Club
ConstructConnect IT
Dinsmore & Shohl
Dohn Young Women’s Academy
Doorga Friends
DSD Advisors
Faith Lutheran Church
Fifth Third Bank
General Electric
Girl Scouts
Holy Trinity St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Youth Group
Ken Anderson Alliance
Kiwanis – Cincinnati
Kiwanis – Greenhills Forest Park
Lakota High School
Madeira Middle School
Ohio Valley Institute of Food Technologies
Pricewaterhouse Coopers
St. Margaret Knights of Columbus
Tetra Tech
The Asset Advisory Group
The Children’s Home
The Gathering at Northern Hills
The Matrix Companies
Tri-State Freethinkers
University of Cincinnati
University Of Cincinnati Medical Center
Western Southern Financial
Wise Temple
Wyoming High School

Liberty Street Market

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
Collective Visions, LLC
Easter Seals Tristate
TriHealth
University of Cincinnati

A Second Chance

Mediaon February 5th, 2019Comments Off on A Second Chance

How do you graduate from college with a degree in Computer Engineering and end up driving a fork lift? That is exactly what happened to Cortheas Gatewood (Cortez). Growing up, Cortez was fascinated by technology. He still loves computers more than anything else in the world. He loves to takes them apart and fix them and he understands how they work. After he graduated from the University of Cincinnati with an engineering degree, Cortez started working as an IT contractor for Duke Energy. “I loved Duke. I sat a desk, answered the phone, helped fix computers and set up networks,” he remembers. “ I lived a normal life, had friends and went to retirement parties. That was perhaps the best years of my life.” Unfortunately his contract ran out and Cortez found himself out of a job.

Shortly after being laid off, Cortez was involved in a domestic violence incident and put on probation. To make matters worse, he was caught handling marijuana while on probation and sentenced to nine months in prison. When he got out of jail, alone and broke, he was grateful that Talbert House offered him assistance with finding an apartment and paying rent until he could find a job. Cortez worked odd jobs and spent hours on the Internet looking for stable employment. “I looked and looked for a good job as a computer engineer,” he says. “However, once the employer found out that I’d been in jail, they’d turn me down.” As rejections  piled up, Cortez felt growing desperation. “I did not think I would ever be employed again,” he says. It was at that time that he received an email from Belflex, a local staffing firm telling him about LIFT the TriState, a free workforce development program offered by the Freestore Foodbank. It was meant specifically to help individuals like him who were struggling to find employment or faced significant barriers to entering the workforce. “LIFT the TriState offered hope at a time when I was running out of options,” Cortez says. “I was grateful to be given a second chance.”

Cortez called the Freestore Foodbank and enrolled in the program. “I was excited that this training would teach new skills which could help me find employment once again,” Cortez says. “My greatest desire was to become independent. I hated not being self-sufficient.” Cortez  graduated from the program a few months later. Since then, he has been working as a contractor for Dillards. “When my contract at Dillards expires, I am confident that I’ll be able to find something else,” he says. “The certifications that I have acquired through LIFT give me an advantage. When I interview, most hiring managers are impressed by my certifications and they move me to the top of the list.” Cortez is grateful to LIFT for giving him a chance to start a fresh chapter in his life. “LIFT has given me a chance to be independent again. It has transformed me and I feel whole again,” he adds.

LIFT stands for Logistics, Inventory Management, Facilities Management and Transportation. The program offers an opportunity for unemployed and underemployed adults throughout the TriState region to become trained in a growing field, providing essential job skills. This 10-week free job training program based in Northern Kentucky provides hands-on training from experienced warehouse personnel at the Freestore Foodbank, specialized coursework designed by Gateway Community and Technical College, as well as links to local employment through BelFlex Staffing Network and other program partners.

For more information on how to apply click here.