Archive for Media

Story in Pictures – November 2018

Mediaon November 8th, 2018Comments Off on Story in Pictures – November 2018

October was an exciting month with a lot of opportunities for us to serve the community. Class 174 of Cincinnati COOKS! graduated, we handed out delicious bags of snacks to school children thanks to the generosity of Oprah Winfrey and Kroger, we had Jonathan McCracken and Alea Brown from the office of US Senator Sherrod Brown visit us as a part of our advocacy efforts and we also organized the Second Annual OTR Community Health Fair!

Congratulations to Class 174 of the Cincinnati COOKS! program!

Thanks to Oprah Winfrey!

Thanks to the generosity of Oprah Winfrey and Kroger, the Freestore Foodbank was able to deliver these beautiful recyclable bags of snacks to school pantries in Ohio and Kentucky. School pantries provide permanent on-site food assistance at select local schools with very high food insecurity rates.

Visitors from the office of US Senator Sherrod Brown

It was a pleasure to have Jonathan McCracken, Senior Policy Staffer & Alea Brown, SW Regional Director to Senator Sherrod Brown visit our Rubber Duck Family Market located in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Hopple Street Neighborhood Health Center. Thanks for supporting our work to end childhood hunger!

OTR Community Health Fair

Thanks to everyone who helped to make our Second Annual OTR Community Health Fair a wonderful success. We were able to serve those who needed our help the most – providing essential health screening, vision testing and dental and podiatric help to our neighbors along with winter coats, hats,mittens and fresh produce from our food room.
Thanks to Christ Hospital and Rothenberg Preparatory Academy and all the other wonderful community partners who supported this event . We could not have done this without you!

Volunteer Connection – November 2018

Mediaon November 8th, 2018Comments Off on Volunteer Connection – November 2018

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

Calling those who want to be in the holiday spirit!!! November and December are Holiday Box production months at the Mayerson Distribution Center!  During the holiday season, Freestore Foodbank distributes over 17,000 boxes in addition to produce and proteins (turkeys and chickens) to provide meals prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Volunteers lend a hand at packing the boxes in advance of the distribution dates at the Holiday Operations Day at the Customer Connection Center.  We are calling on those who want to make a difference to volunteer now!

And… while the days leading up to the holidays are always a popular time to volunteer, we are also registering volunteers to help us kick off 2019 when we return to our Power Packing and food sorting.  Consider giving the gift that helps others BEFORE and AFTER the holidays and register your groups today!

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. 


Food Room
Located at 112 E. Liberty, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

The Food Room has been undergoing renovations during October and we can’t wait to see the results in November.  Throughout the month of October and the beginning of November, the Food Room has operated out of the Front Bay and thanks to our volunteers, everything has gone smoothly!  On a daily basis, the Customer Connection Center may serve up to 300 people and continues to provide food and connections to other services.  Volunteer opportunities are always available!

Food Room Shifts:  Individuals or groups of 10 or less can schedule a time to volunteer in the Food Room, Monday, Tuesday, Thursdays and Friday from 8am-4pm.  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.


SPECIAL EVENTS

November Events:

Double Your Dollars Day
November 14th

We will kick-off the holiday season with our Seventh Annual Double Your Dollar$ Day campaign.  Thanks to our community partners, every dollar donated to the Freestore Foodbank that day will be matched allowing us to feed twice as many tri-state children and families! Volunteers are needed to answer phones and complete the one page payment forms.

The Holidays Operations
November 19 & 20th and December 19th & 20th

Over 2,000 volunteers are needed to assist with our holiday food distribution.  Registration is open now for individuals.  If you would like to register a group, contact us at volunteer@freestorefoodbank.org.  Reserve your spots now.  We will only be distributing on November 19th and 20th and December 19th and 20th this year!  Please note the change in dates and times.  Groups and individuals are welcome.  Volunteers must be at least 10 years old to volunteer (with parents).

Tackle Hunger at the 32nd Annual Bengals Canned Food Drive
Sunday, November 25th

We are teaming up again with the Cincinnati Bengals for the 32nd Annual Bengals Canned Food Drive on Sunday, November 25th at Paul Brown Stadium.  Last year, food and monetary donations received through this event helped us to provide more than 71,000 meals to hungry children and families in the community.  Help us tackle hunger by collecting monetary and food donations before the game.


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.

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.


Other Ways to Help

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 Stabilization, Protective Payee, and Shelter Diversion programs. Adopt – A – Family is an annual program that helps over 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: adoptafamily@freestorefoodbank.org or call 513-720-6099.

Food Drive with the Cincinnati Symphony OrchestraFood 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 October 2018!
We sincerely appreciate their continued support and contribution of their time.

Mayerson Distribution Center (Tennessee Avenue)

4iNNO
Anderson High School
ATG
Bobbie B. Fairfax School
Bottom Line Systems
Cengage
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincom Systems Inc.
Cintas
Citibank
Citizens Bank
Clark Montessori
E.W. Scripps Company
Ernst & Young
Fed it Forward
Fidelity Investments
Fifth Third Bank
Franciscans for the Poor
General Electric
GNGF
Hamilton County
Health Carousel LLC
Heapy Engineering
Ken Anderson Alliance
La Salle High School
M.C. Logistics, LLC
Marsh & McLennan Companies
Miami University
Moeller High School
Musillo Unkenholt
OPTA Southwest District
Pep Promotions
PNC Bank
Procter and Gamble
Rooted
St. Antoninus Parish and School
St. Columban School
St. Margaret Knights of Columbus
St. Xavier High School
The Children’s Home
The Gap
The Gathering
The Nielsen Company (US), LLC
Tri-State Freethinkers
Turner Construction
University of Cincinnati
Western Southern Financial
World Pay

Food Room (Customer Connection Center - Liberty Street)

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Collective Visions, LLC
David J. Joseph Company
First Industrial Realty
Hillman Group
Loveland High School
State Avenue
Manufacturing
University of Cincinnati
US Navy

Giving Fields

84.51
Celanese
DotLoop
Leadership Northern Kentucky
Salvation Army
Seven Hills School

Sycamore Capital: On a Mission to Give Back

Mediaon November 8th, 2018Comments Off on Sycamore Capital: On a Mission to Give Back

Freestore Foodbank’s holiday season starts with Double Your Dollars Day on Wednesday, November 14, 2018. Gifts made during this annual event will be matched dollar for dollar by generous Second Helping Fund donors, who have committed $275,000 to create a matching pool of funds. Overall, the goal is to raise a total of $550,000 to help provide food, connection and hope to tristate families over the holiday season.

Sycamore Capital, a Presenting Sponsor of Double Your Dollars Day, has supported Freestore Foodbank for several years through this event and Taste of the NFL. Gary Miller, their Chief Investment Officer, serves on Freestore Foodbank’s Foundation board.

“We set up our charitable fund to support organizations where our staff is involved,” said Miller. “We don’t do it for the PR. We try to live it every day. It’s not just writing checks, it’s about people participating and taking an active role in the community.”

Sycamore Capital provides investment management services to institutions, pension and retirement plans and individual investors.

“We have a responsibility to give back to the community and help those who are having a difficult time in their lives.”

The team at Sycamore Capital supports organizations in the health and human services sector as well as childhood education.

“Giving to a small organization is great because our contribution can make a big impact. But it is also important to support large organizations because they make a difference for so many people in our community.”

With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, many families in greater Cincinnati are facing a holiday without the resources to enjoy a festive meal. Thanks to Second Helping Fund donors and contributions that will be made on Double Your Dollars Day, Freestore Foodbank will have the resources to provide emergency food assistance and wrap around services that give tristate families the best gift of all: hope.

For more information about Double Your Dollars Day on November 14, please contact Mindy Hammer at mhammer@freestorefoodbank.org or 513-482-7099.

Building A New Life

Mediaon November 8th, 2018Comments Off on Building A New Life

Jamie grew up in Lincoln Heights, the youngest of four siblings. Although he was a good student, the lure of the street pulled him away from school, and he dropped out just before graduation.

Staying with an older brother reduced tensions with Jamie’s parents over his decision to leave school. But unfortunately, the brother was not a good influence.

“I had always had some kind of job – cleaning churches or delivering phone books – but I also started selling drugs.”

At 19, Jamie was arrested for dealing. During his three-year prison sentence, he resolved to turn things around, starting by earning a GED. After his release, Jamie found a job in construction that paid well, and he stayed out of trouble.

Unfortunately, his older brother once again pulled Jamie into a bad situation.

“My brother had a run-in with the neighborhood gang leader who threatened my grandmother and parents. I confronted him.” Tragically, the confrontation resulted in gunshots. After two desperate weeks in the hospital, the victim died. Jamie turned himself in pleading guilty to manslaughter and found himself facing a sentence of ten years in prison!

While incarcerated, Jamie took classes through Wilmington College in small business management and standard pre-requisite classes. He participated in every opportunity to learn and get ahead, including training service dogs, becoming one of the first inmates in the state to receive a Certificate of Achievement and Employability from the Governor.

“When I got out, I started cutting grass and then got a job as a cleaner.” When Jamie learned about Cincinnati COOKS! he decided to apply. “I like learning new things, and I like cooking and want to learn about every aspect of the kitchen. I am also learning to get along with other people.” Over the first five weeks of his Cincinnati COOKS! training, Jamie rotated through the back-of-house kitchen stations, as well as classroom preparation for the ServSafe exam and sessions to improve soft skills.

“I’m looking forward to getting out of the dish room! I would like to be able to manage, maybe be an executive chef and have a stable career.” In the final five weeks of the program, Jamie prepared meals for the Kids Cafe after-school program and refined his culinary skills. He also had the opportunity to mentor the incoming class of Cincinnati COOKS!. Since graduating with Class 169 in April, Jamie has completed Second Course and works part-time at Cincinnati Cooks Catering, which is the catering arm of program. He is seriously considering the option to pursue an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Cincinnati State, while continuing to work part-time for Cincinnati Cooks Catering.

The Freestore Foodbank is proud to offer a second chance to individuals such as Jamie to build a better life. We welcome the opportunity to transform lives and help individuals in the tristate region gain employment and lead self-sufficient lives.

Saving a Village

Mediaon November 8th, 2018Comments Off on Saving a Village

Felicity, Ohio could be straight out of a picture book. I drive slowly down quiet streets with little traffic, past tiny homes with pretty flowers in their windows, a corner bakery with a friendly sign on its door, a church with a gorgeous steeple and a school with a colorful playground. Tucked in the middle of the town is a Methodist church, home to a large pantry run by the Felicity Community Mission, a partner-agency to the Freestore Foodbank.  Annie Ridener meets me at the door with a warm smile and handshake.  Annie is friendly and energetic and her smiling face is framed with brown curls sneaking out from under a baseball cap. Her enthusiasm is infectious. I am ushered into the church and up the stairs to a large, airy dining room. A box of sugar cookies lies open on the table. Every Saturday of the month, volunteers at the Mission gather in this room to serve a “community lunch” to close to 100 individuals.  “Our Saturday lunch pulls the community together,” Annie comments. “Almost every week we see retired folks come in, eat lunch and stay to chat. Kids ride over on their bikes, throw their bikes on the lawn and come upstairs to get a bite to eat. And then they get back on their bikes and are gone. This has become a tradition in this town.”

Annie drove the local school bus many years ago. She’s lived in Felicity for more than 30 years.  Every passing year she noticed the worsening conditions in the town. When the Ford company in Eastgate closed its doors, the last of the jobs were gone. With the decline in the tobacco industry, even the farmers were out of work.  Tucked away in the deep recesses of rural Ohio, Felicity was far from stores, pharmacies, public transportation. “I had worked in Cincinnati and witnessed poverty there,” Annie remarks. “However, the poverty I saw in Felicity was different. This was poverty in absolute isolation. And it was chilling.”  In 1980, her friend Bob Laubach who was a sixth-grade teacher and later the local middle school principal at the local school started the Felicity Community Mission in an effort to help. He started distributing food from his aunt’s bedroom to a handful of people. The scope of the project expanded and he moved into the church to continue to serve the community. Today in a town with 835 residents, Felicity Community Mission serves close to 600 individuals every month.

In addition to fresh produce and canned items, volunteers pick up meat and baked goods from local stores such as Kroger and Sam’s Club. “Our partnership with the Freestore Foodbank has been a wonderful thing!” says Bob. “It has given us access to fresh produce and meat from local stores. The Freestore Foodbank also delivers food to us regularly on their truck and that has been amazing!”  Recently Felicity Community Mission received a grant from the Freestore Foodbank to purchase a walk-in freezer. This has helped them increase their capacity significantly. “The freezer is so huge you can park a car in it,” observes Annie. “We use it to store turkeys and ham for the holidays. This has helped make a real difference in the community.”  Personal hygiene products are in great demand and the Mission offers every family shampoo, tooth paste and other essential items.  The Mission has a partnership with the local school and the students regularly volunteer there – helping to load and unload food and push carts. Annie, Bob and their helpers are busy getting prepared for the holiday season.  Recently a low-cost senior housing center

opened close to them. Annie worked hard to gain rights to deliver food to the elderly residents and now she gladly drops off 140 bags of food once a month to 22 senior citizens who live there. This is in addition to the 134 senior boxes that the Freestore Foodbank delivers directly every  month. “Having fresh and healthy food delivered directly to them made all the difference in the world to the seniors,” Bob adds. “Many of them were diabetic and a few of them were bed-ridden. This made a direct impact on their lives.”

The Freestore Foodbank is proud to partner with Felicity Community Mission.  We are grateful for the opportunity to work with agencies in and across the tristate region so that we can help our neighbors wherever they are by improving their access to nutritious food.

Volunteer Connection – October 2018

Mediaon October 12th, 2018Comments Off on Volunteer Connection – October 2018

Mayerson Distribution Center
Located at 1250 Tennessee Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229.
October is Power Pack production month at the Mayerson Distribution Center!  During the school year, students receive food through their free and reduce breakfast and lunch programs and on weekends the Power Pack provides supplemental food until they can get back to school on Monday morning. October is especially busy as volunteers  pack Power Packs to fulfill orders throughout the entire holiday season.  Beginning November 1st, we will switch over to the Holiday Box production.  Many volunteers are needed to feed the children and prepare for the holidays too!

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


Food Room
Located at 112 E. Liberty, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
The Food Room is the Freestore Foodbank’s very own choice pantry at the Customer Connection Center.  On a daily basis the Customer Connection Center may serve up to 300 people and provide food and connections to other services which helps individuals and families.

Food Room Shifts:  Individuals or groups of 10 or less can schedule a time to volunteer in the Food Room, Monday, Tuesday, Thursdays and Friday from 8am-4pm.  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.


The Giving Fields
Located at 101 Anderson Lane, Melbourne, KY 41059
The Food Room is the
A huge THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who made the Giving Fields possible this season!  As summer finally gives way to fall, we are taking our final steps for closing out the 2018 growing season.  With the help of over 2,000 volunteers, the Giving Fields was able to provide fresh, healthy, nutritious produce to our neighbors in Northern Kentucky.  Volunteers rolled up their sleeves, put on their boots and got dirty with us as together, we served our neighbors!

A special thank you to a few special groups who funded and began new projects this September:   Women of Messer, who built new seedling structures and raised beds for next year and the employees of Perfetti Van Melle for donating funds, purchased lawnmowers and built the structure to create an arboretum for our berry bramble!

We want to also give a super SHOUT OUT to our three volunteers who were with us week in and out:  Dan Burns, Carl Bosse and Mike Rimer.

Thank you to all of our 2,000 plus volunteers who gave of their time to make this year happen.  The farm will close on October 30th and will reopen next spring.


SPECIAL EVENTS

October Events:

OTR Health Care Fair
Saturday, October 27th
We will partner with Rothenberg Preparatory Academy and The Christ Hospital to host our 2nd Annual Community Health Fair. There will be health screenings for blood pressure, BMI, glucose for diabetes, health education on personal and dental hygiene, as well as foot and eye care. All ages are welcome to attend.  Volunteers are needed to assist with the set up on Friday, October 26th and the actual fair itself on Saturday.  Volunteers will assist with event setup/breakdown (moving and setting up tables, chairs, signage, assembling grab bags, etc.) as well as managing assigned booths such as medical testing sign-ups, giveaway distribution stations, crowd directors, etc.

November Event:

Double Your Dollars Day
November 14th
We will kick-off the holiday season with our Seventh Annual Double Your Dollar$ Day campaign.  Thanks to our community partners, every dollar donated to the Freestore Foodbank that day will be matched allowing us to feed twice as many Tri-State children and families! Volunteers are needed to answer phones and complete the one page payment forms.

The Holidays Operations
November 19 & 20th and December 19th & 20th
Over 2,000 volunteers are needed to assist with our holiday food distribution.  Registration is open now for individuals.  If you would like to register a group, contact us at volunteer@freestorefoodbank.org.  Reserve your spots now.  We will only be distributing 2 days for each of the holidays this year!  Please note the change in dates and times.  Groups and individuals are welcome.  Volunteers must be at least 10 years old to volunteer (with parents).

Tackle Hunger at the 32nd Annual Bengals Canned Food Drive
Sunday, November 25th
We are teaming up again with the Cincinnati Bengals for the 32nd Annual Bengals Canned Food Drive on Sunday, November 25th at Paul Brown Stadium.  Last year, food and monetary donations received through this event helped us to provide more than 71,000 meals to hungry children and families in the community.  Help us tackle hunger by collecting monetary and food donations before the game.


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.

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.


Other Ways to Help

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 Stabilization, Protective Payee, and Shelter Diversion programs. Adopt – A – Family is an annual program that helps over 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: adoptafamily@freestorefoodbank.org or call 513-720-6099.

Food Drive with the Cincinnati Symphony OrchestraFood 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 September 2018!
We sincerely appreciate their continued support and contribution of their time.

Mayerson Distribution Center (Tennessee Avenue)

84.51
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
Baker Law
Bishop Brossart High School
Bobbie B. Fairfax School
Bottom Line Systems
Celanese
Cintas
Citizens Bank
Crossroads Church
Ethicon
Fifth Third
General Electric
Greater Liberty Baptist Church
Guardian Angels
Improv Cincinnati
Ipsos
Cincinnati Kiwanis
GFP Kiwanis
Linde – Markham Wedding
Margaret B. Rost School
Mars Hill Academy
Mercy Health Group
Miami University
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
Pepsi Beverage Co.
Peter Cremer NA
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
Procter and Gamble
Redeemer Church
Rotary Club of Cincinnati
St. Margaret Knights of Columbus
St. Xavier High School
The Gathering
Three Rivers School District
University of Cincinnati
VT Seva
Western Southern Financial
YouthBuild NKY

Food Room (Customer Connection Center - Liberty Street)

Collective Visions
Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio
Easter Seals Tristate
Fifth Third
Michelman

Giving Fields

Convergys
Guardian Angels
Kroger
Messer Construction
North Avondale Montessori School
Perfetti van Melle USA
Procter and Gamble
Tata Consultancy Services Limited
Xavier University

Story In Pictures – October 2018

Mediaon October 12th, 2018Comments Off on Story In Pictures – October 2018

September was Hunger Action Month and we used the opportunity to raise awareness about hunger and to recognize some important partners and supporters in the community who have joined us in our fight against hunger.  We also welcomed another class into the LIFT the TriState program.

Welcome to a whole new class of LIFT the TriState, our workforce development program! We are excited to have you!

Compassion through Action John Isidor and Sandy Kaltman

Mediaon October 12th, 2018Comments Off on Compassion through Action John Isidor and Sandy Kaltman

John Isidor and Sandy Kaltman have been exceptionally generous in their longtime support of Freestore Foodbank and, through their support, have provided food, connection and hope to thousands of tristate neighbors.

“My parents survived a concentration camp where they faced extreme hunger,” said Sandy. “We have the blessing of being able to make donations to address this most basic need.”

John’s career began as a teacher in an inner city school while Sandy worked in nursing. Later, they both worked as attorneys. Their professional experiences cultivated a strong interest in social justice with a special focus on returning citizens and the wrongfully incarcerated.

“Frank Gerson was a friend so I’ve known Freestore Foodbank since its inception,” said John. “As the mission expanded beyond food delivery to job training and giving people second chances to rebuild their lives, both Sandy and I came to the realization of how valuable and critical the organization’s work is. Society is far too harsh at times, throwing people away.”

John and Sandy’s philanthropy is essential to ensuring Freestore Foodbank has the resources to fulfill its mission. In addition to their annual giving, the couple has also included a bequest in their estate planning. Their planned gift will provide for long-term support of Freestore Foodbank’s efforts to provide emergency food assistance alongside workforce development and wrap-around services that build stability and reduce hunger.

“The disparity between the wealthy and the poor in this country is so distressing,” said John. “You have to start with feeding people. No one can be successful without enough to eat.”

“You have to feed the hungry,” added Sandy. “It’s a basic human value. We use our giving to actively show and extend compassion to those who need it.”

John and Sandy’s legacy gift will provide food, connection and hope to our neighbors in need. For more information about leaving a gift in your estate plan, please contact Mindy Hammer at mhammer@freestorefoodbank.org or 513-482-7099.

Mt. Healthy Alliance – A Valuable Partner

Mediaon October 12th, 2018Comments Off on Mt. Healthy Alliance – A Valuable Partner

If you happened to find a walk-in box on sale at an auction would you bid on it? Would you then dismantle it piece by piece, haul it home and then re-build it? That is exactly what the volunteers at the Mt. Healthy Alliance did! And lo and behold, they had a walk–in cooler to store milk and eggs.

Tucked away in the basement of Mt. Healthy Christian Church is a wonderful little pantry that serves the community of Mt. Healthy. The pantry, which has been around since 2007, works with the residents of the neighborhood providing fresh produce, meat, milk, eggs, bus tickets and referrals to agencies that can help with medical, clothing, furniture and financial needs.

The Mt. Healthy Alliance Inc., a partner of the Freestore Foodbank is a volunteer-driven organization that is formed out of the collaboration of twelve churches in the community and founded on the belief that collaboration can make a difference when it comes to helping others. Each congregation that is a member of this alliance provides food, clothing and other supplies. Mt Healthy Alliance Inc. also operates an after-school youth program on Hamilton Ave.

The Mt. Healthy Alliance recently received a capacity development grant from the Freestore Foodbank which allowed them to purchase an industrial freezer. “The freezer has been a real blessing,” says Kathy Lorenz, Director of the pantry. “We are able to store food safely and it has increased our capacity greatly.” The pantry started operating at the Christian church in 2008. They have grown in size over the years. “We used to serve 15 families a week when we started,” Lorenz remarks. “However, now we serve over 1,000 families during the course of the year.” The Alliance won three chest freezers and a conveyor belt through a different grant a few years ago.

The pantry is run totally by volunteers- from the Pantry Director to those who help the clients carry food to the car. “We are a group of churches working together to make life better in the neighborhood,” says Joyce Lech, Assistant Director of the pantry. “We try to do as much good as possible by collaborating with one another.” They receive a lot of help from the community. “We receive donations from Kroger, Walmart and Meijer among others. The local schools help us too. Le Salle and St. Xavier High School help us out and so does Mathew 25: Ministries and host of other local organizations.”

The Freestore Foodbank is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Mt. Healthy Alliance.

A Community Chips In

Mediaon October 12th, 2018Comments Off on A Community Chips In

It is 3:15 pm and school has just let out.  I carefully pull into the parking lot and watch as excited and happy kids pour out of the front door of the school, soaking in the warmth and beauty of that summer afternoon. A few of them pile into cars while the vast majority makes their way home on foot. Located in the heart of Delhi Township, Delshire Elementary serves close to 550 students.

Delshire Elementary’s principal Tara Willig is young, dynamic and articulate. A few months ago she visited the local chapter of Kiwani’s International. She spoke about the school and presented data on the makeup of the student body.  “It was a routine visit,” she remembers. “However I did mention that 60% of the students were on the free and reduced lunch program.” She also shared her concerns about food insecurity experienced by her students and the tell-tale signs of hunger that were obvious to teachers after a weekend. The numbers caught the attention of Kiwani’s President, Travis Curd. “The data was powerful and the reality of the situation was shocking,” say Curd. “I felt that we had to do something to help the situation.”

Travis Curd also happened to be the President of the local Business Association. He used his connections within the two organizations to form a small group of individuals who were committed to helping the students at Delshire Elementary.  The group eventually formed an independent, non-profit organization called the Kids and Community Food Collaborative with the mission to work in collaboration with existing school and community based food programs to provide healthier and more sustainable food alternatives for children in the community. The team met with the Freestore Foodbank to learn more about the Power Pack program. The meeting was short, casual and infinitely helpful.  “We were blown away by the simple efficiency of the Freestore Foodbank’s program,” Curd remembers. “We did not ever imagine that we could solve the problem so easily until we heard about the Power Pack program.”

The group requested financial assistance from local businesses to help feed the children at Delshire Elementary. The support they received was overwhelming. “I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we lived in such a caring community,” Curd remarks.  “I asked for $250 from each business since we estimated that to be the amount that we would need to purchase Power Packs from the Freestore Foodbank for a single student for a year. However most organizations ended up giving us much more than that. It goes to show how generous our community is!”

Delshire Elementary today serves more than 40 students – funded solely by the Kids and Community Food Collaborative. As word gets around, the dollars continue to flow in.  “The generosity of the community has provided a comfortable cushion. We now know that we will never have to turn any kid down this year,’ says Willig. She is happy and relieved that the school has been able to effectively address the issue of hunger within its community. Delshire Elementary hopes to eventually qualify for Power Packs that are funded by the Freestore Foodbank. “When we get to the point where Delshire does not need our help any more, we will turn our attention to helping another school the very same way!” Curd comments. The school has recently also scheduled Freestore Foodbank’s mobile pantries to deliver fresh produce to the school so that parents can get access to healthy and nourishing food. Amanda Waits is the teacher who has coordinated the distribution of the Power Packs. “We are very happy with our partnership with the Freestore Foodbank and we are grateful that we have been able to solve the problem of hunger so effectively with their help,” she adds.

The Freestore Foodbank appreciates the opportunity to work with schools in the tristate region to solve the problem of childhood hunger. To learn more about our Power Pack program click here.