Archive for Media

Story in Pictures – January 2019

Mediaon January 15th, 2019Comments Off on Story in Pictures – January 2019

December was filled with joyful moments as we worked diligently to help as many of our neighbors as possible. The month kicked off with our amazing Adopt A Family program followed by our Holiday Food Distribution. We are grateful for the opportunity to bring holiday cheer to the homes of so many  and we look forward to more exciting work in 2019.

ADOPT A FAMILY 2019
THANK YOU to every dedicated donor, volunteer and staff member who supported our 2018 ADOPT A FAMILY campaign. Because of your generosity close to 110 families we serve went home with beautifully wrapped presents. Thank you for helping us make Christmas more joyful for hundreds of children in the tristate region.

Congratulations to Class 176 of Cincinnati COOKS!

HOLIDAY FOOD DISTRIBUTION
We are proud to share that over the span of two incredible days, we successfully delivered nutritious holiday meals to over 11,000 individuals which is close to 4,000 households in the tristate. Our sincere thanks to the hundreds of volunteers, community leaders, elected officials and staff members who worked alongside us to make this possible. We are especially grateful to our generous sponsors Sysco Corporation, American Mortgage and Coca-Cola Consolidated.

 

Volunteer Connection – January 2019

Mediaon January 15th, 2019Comments Off on Volunteer Connection – January 2019

Over 12,500 volunteers gave the gift of themselves in 2018 as they offered their hands, hearts, and spirits to solve hunger.  The Volunteer Engagement Team is very thankful. We could not fight hunger without the continued support, passion and time of our volunteers.  We wish everyone a happy healthy 2019 and we hope to see you again very soon!

We wrapped up 2018 with a big red bow with the following events:

Holiday Food Distributions – Christmas
Our annual Christmas Food Distribution made a huge impact thanks to the support of our staff and volunteers. We provided food for a Christmas meal to help more than 11,000 individuals over the course of two days. 724 volunteers donated 2,240.5 hours of their time – a true gift this holiday season.

Adopt –A – Family
One hundred twenty families received holiday gifts this year through our Adopt-a-Family program. Thanks to the volunteers and donors who helped to make this possible. Thank you to volunteer, Susan Ede and their team for bringing a special joy to these families this year.

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.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Distinguished Speaker Series & Annual Meeting – on January 24th
Volunteers are needed to assist with event set up and breakdown. This is an evening volunteer opportunity at 6:30 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. and located at the Mayerson Distribution Center, 1250 Tennessee Avenue.

An Opportunity to share Professional Skills
Volunteers are needed to teach special professional skill based seminars in both our workforce development programs: Cincinnati Cooks! and LIFT the Tri-State.  During both of the 10-week courses, students learn the mechanics of either a commercial kitchen or a working warehouse, as well as professional and life skills to ensure success in the industry and in their personal lives. Volunteer teachers are needed to present curriculum on resume writing, interviewing, conflict resolution, great work habits and much more.  If you are interested in teaching and sharing your professional knowledge contact Brandon Thomas, Volunteer Engagement Specialist directly at bthomas@freestorefoodbank.org or call 513-482-7547.


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

Group and Individual Activities
Calling those who want to make a difference this new year!  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 to assist many of the elderly on a monthly basis supplement their regular monthly needs. Help us kick off 2019 as we continue to work together to solve hunger!

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. 

Coming in January:  Two NEW 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.  Activities include packing Power Packs for children and Senior Boxes for the elderly as well as food sorting from all of the holiday donations given this season.

Thursday Nights are Student Nights!
Are you a high school or college student and need community services hours for school or a specific project?  Here’s your chance to earn three hours of credit while helping your community. Students assist with sorting donations from canned food drives, assembling Power Packs, and/or a variety of simple projects during the volunteer session.  Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age and in need of community service hours for high school, college, grants, or civic group requirement.


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 updated space and help us serve up to 300 people daily.

Liberty Street Market Shifts:  Individuals or groups of 10 or less can schedule a time to volunteer in the Liberty Street Market, 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  (closed for the season)
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 February 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.

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 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 December 2018!
We sincerely appreciate their continued support and contribution of their time.

Mayerson Distribution Center (Tennessee Avenue)

84.51
Accounting Principals
Ameriprise Financial
Bethel ALB Program Cooperative
Blue Mark Capital, LLC
Bobbie B. Fairfax School
Cengage
Cincinnati Bell
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati Waldorf School
Fidelity Investments
Fifth Third Bank
General Electric
General Mills
Ghirardelli
Humana
Kelly Youth Services
Kiwanis – Cincinnati
Kiwanis – Greenhills Forest Park
Kroger
Procter and Gamble
Quality Mechanicals Inc.
Reading Rock
Redeemer Church
Retail Odyssey
Rue Family
Star Dance
The RCF Group
Tri-State Freethinkers
University of Cincinnati Lambda Chi
USBank
Waverly’s Hope Childcare LLC
Western Southern Financial
World Pay

Liberty Street Market (formerly Liberty Street Market)

Cincinnati Early Learning Centers, Inc.
Easter Seals Tristate
Faith Temple Ministries
Hillman Group
Medtronic
University of Cincinnati
University Of Cincinnati Medical Center
Welch’s

Holiday Operations - Christmas

Amazon
Ameritas
Beechwood High School
Brausch Family
Brown and Caldwell
Catalina Marketing
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cintas
Clean Harbors
Close the Loop, Inc.
Concentrix
Corporex Companies
Droder & Miller
Fidelity Investments
Fifth Third Bank
Gateway Community and Technical College
General Electric
Getronics
Girl Scouts
GNGF
Gray Family
Health Collaborative
KLH Engineers
Kroger
Marsh Family
Nestle
News America
Pep Promotions
Procter and Gamble
ProPharma Sales
Rhinegeist Brewery
Salesforce.com
SouthWest Ohio Assoc. for Financial Professionals
Sysco Cincinnati
Talmetrix
The Clorox Company
The Gap
The Westin Cincinnati
Tri-State Freethinkers
TruPartner Credit Union
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Unilever Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati
Velosio
World Pay
Yorio Family

Grants Encourage Second Chances

Mediaon January 15th, 2019Comments Off on Grants Encourage Second Chances

As Freestore Foodbank works to solve the critical issue of hunger for the over 273,000 food insecure residents of our region, helping neighbors in need build self-sufficiency is essential.

During the intake process for emergency food assistance at our Customer Connection Center, Freestore Foodbank employees discover why people are coming to us for help. A majority of people report they are unable to secure and maintain stable employment due to a lack of education or training and other barriers.

Cincinnati COOKS!, Freestore Foodbank’s free, ten-week, culinary workforce development program helps individuals acquire the skills necessary to find and maintain employment. While other organizations offer similar classes, our training is free and provides wrap-around services. In addition, we accept returning citizens and do not require a specific level of stability before acceptance to the program, instead we work with applicants to improve their stability. Cincinnati COOKS! remains the only program in our region open to individuals of all backgrounds with a focus on formal culinary training rather than on-the-job training.

After graduating from Cincinnati COOKS!, participants can continue their training with Second Course, a free, 8-week program focused on fine dining and kitchen management. Upon completion of Cincinnati COOKS! and Second Course, graduates can enroll at Cincinnati State with 30 credit hours toward an Associate Degree in Culinary Management. The Cincinnati COOKS! program changes the trajectory of participants’ lives, providing a career path and a life enriched through education.

Freestore Foodbank gratefully acknowledges recent grants from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, HDR Foundation, Harold C. Schott Foundation, General Mills Foundation Hometown Grantmaking Program, and American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation to support Cincinnati COOKS! this year. We depend on grants and individual restricted donations to support our Cincinnati COOKS! students and provide essential equipment for their training.

“The Trustees of the Harold C. Schott Foundation appreciate the work of Freestore Foodbank, and we are pleased to be able to supports its mission to provide food and services, create stability, and further self-reliance for people in crisis,” said Foundation trustee Allison Kropp. “It is because of Freestore Foodbank’s mission and the way that it delivers upon that mission that the Foundation provided grant funding to help fund Power Pack sites for the 2018-19 school year, to support families in the Stabilization Program, helping them attain their goals and build their self-sufficiency, and to provide training and wrap-around services for Cincinnati COOKS! students.”

The HDR Foundation grant, along with donations from Mitchell and Elissa Habib, Karen Maier and Delane Starliper, will allow us to replace two outdated and inefficient CombiOvens in the COOKS! kitchen. The new equipment will ensure Cincinnati COOKS! participants are familiar with the appliances currently used in commercial kitchens, enhancing their opportunities for employment upon graduation.

If you would like to support Cincinnati COOKS!, please contact Jean Reisinger Coggan, jcoggan@freestorefoodbank.org or 513-482-3730.

The Clearinghouse Food Pantry: A Community of Givers

Mediaon January 15th, 2019Comments Off on The Clearinghouse Food Pantry: A Community of Givers

The Clearinghouse Pantry in Aurora, Indiana sits atop a tiny hill, slightly removed from the street.  A gentleman in a Santa hat loading bags of groceries into the trunk of a car waves enthusiastically and wishes me a Merry Christmas as I emerge from my car. I hurry into the building, my scarf pulled tightly around me, bracing against the whistling, arctic gust.  As I walk through the doorway I find myself in a big cheerful room with a vaulted ceiling, festive with brightly colored Christmas decorations and bustling with excited shoppers and helpers. I am greeted by Karry Hollan, Executive Director of the pantry.  “I am so glad to meet you,” she says as we hug. As I soak it all in, I bask in the wonderful feeling that I am a part of this team now, in a place where everyone is welcomed and loved. I look around, delighted by th the warm smiles, cheerful voices, the holiday hats and Christmas music. It was worth it to visit Aurora, Indiana to be a part of this!

The Clearinghouse was established in 1981. At first it was meant to be just a clearing house for all of the community’s humanitarian efforts. More than 30 years later, the Clearinghouse is now a wonderful partner to the Freestore Foodbank, leading the effort to end hunger in Dearborn and Ohio counties in Indiana and operating three food facilities in Lawrenceberg, Greendale and Aurora.  “We do our best to maximize the use of the space we have,” Karry remarks as she gives me a tour of the building, packed from floor to ceiling with hundreds of items including food, household appliances, furniture, clothes and toys. Recently they received a grant from the Subaru foundation to purchase a walking stacker. Clearing House is one of the Freestore Foodbank’s biggest distributors of fresh food received through federal grants. Recently they started operating a mobile pantry in the community. “Ever since we started the mobile pantry, we have been getting requests from several different parts of  the community,” says Karry.  “We’ve been to the Parole Department and to Ivy Tech Community College so far. But there are a lot of other spots to reach. The need is so great.”

Clearinghouse distributes “Snack Sacks” (similar to the Freestore Foodbank’s Power Packs) to schools in the neighborhood. During the holiday season they organize a toy drive called the Toy Coalition. Nearly 500 children will receive toys this year. The pantry has three staff-members.  The rest are all volunteers from the local community. The Mayor and his staff have offered to help distribute toys over the holidays and also donated $1,000. “We are blessed to be part of a very caring community,” remarks Karry. “I hardly ever have to ask for anything. I merely mention an idea and it happens!”

The Freestore Foodbank is proud to partner with Clearinghouse to provide nutritious meals to communities in Indiana.

A Home For The Holidays

Mediaon January 15th, 2019Comments Off on A Home For The Holidays

Sandra stared at the pediatrician in disbelief as he spoke. Her youngest child had just tested positive for lead poisoning. The condition sounded vaguely familiar. She remembered hearing about it happening to other people. Now it was happening to her. She felt panic as she wondered what lay ahead. The symptoms, the developmental challenges,  the frequent, mysterious illnesses that led to regular visits to the doctor – all the recent events that were starting to overwhelm her suddenly fell in place. The doctor put her in touch with the Health Department who said they would need to inspect her apartment. A few days and several tests later it was determined that her two older children also showed signs of lead poisoning. The paint on the walls of her old apartment proved to be the source of the lead.  The Health Department contacted her landlord recommending renovations to ensure the health and safety of his tenants. To her shock and dismay, the landlord concocted a false accusation that Sandra had not been paying her rent and moved to evict her. “He figured it would be easier to get rid of me than take care of the problem with the building,” she reflects. Sandra sought legal counsel, but received nothing.  Within a few days she found herself homeless.

Sandra started to make phone calls, desperately trying to find a place to live. “Every homeless shelter I called was full,” she says. “I was starting to get more and more frantic.” Quite by accident, someone handed her the number of the Freestore Foodbank. “As soon as I called the Freestore Foodbank I felt I would be able to get help,” Sandra recalls. She filled out the required paper work and waited to see if she would qualify for the Freestore Foodbank’s Shelter Diversion program. “I was working at a local restaurant. I made $8.50 an hour which was hardly enough for me to cover rent and take care of my three children.” The Freestore Foodbank enrolled her in the program and put her in touch with the Apartment Association. Together they moved her and her family into an apartment. For the first few months she received rental assistance while she tended to her family’s medical needs and got her life back together. As her life stabilized, she was able to regain her independence and become self-sufficient.

In December Sandra put her name in the hat to be considered for the Freestore Foodbank’s Adopt A Family program. “I was worried that I would not be able to afford to get Christmas gifts for my children and I was so thankful that my family was included in the Adopt A Family program,” she remarks. But then things got even better. A few days later she received an unexpected call from the Freestore Foodbank with the wonderful news that she had been chosen to receive CORT Furniture’s annual donation of furniture, gifts and household items to a deserving family. “This was an amazing gift,” Sandra remarks with tears of gratitude in her eyes. “CORT Furniture gave me gifts that transformed my apartment into a home,” she says. “They gave us furniture for the entire house, pots and pans, a microwave, TVs and gifts for the kids. They gave me gift certificates and a check for $500. They even gave me a Christmas tree.” Sandra is still incredulous at the generosity and compassion of all those who have helped her in the past few months. “Coming to the Freestore Foodbank was the key,” she states. “They took care of my every need and concern and I knew I was safe.” She is also extremely thankful to the Apartment Association for their help in securing a home for her family and providing rental assistance at a time when she needed it.

Sandra works full –time. Now that the crisis is over, she is able to pay her own rent. The Freestore Foodbank is grateful for the opportunity to help individuals and families in the tristate and we are proud to partner with the Apartment Association to help provide rental and housing assistance to our neighbors.

Volunteer Connection – December 2018

Mediaon December 4th, 2018Comments Off on Volunteer Connection – December 2018

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

Group and Individual Activities
Calling those who want to make a difference in a child’s life!  While our Holiday boxes are almost completed, volunteers will be busy as elves packing Power Packs for children and Senior Boxes for the elderly in our community.  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 to assist many of the elderly on a monthly basis supplement their regular monthly needs.  Both of these programs happen not only during the holidays.  Days leading up to the holidays are always a popular time to volunteer but we are also registering volunteers to help us kick off 2019 when we return to our regular everyday events.  Consider giving the gift that helps others BEFORE and AFTER the holidays and register yourself or group today!

Coming in 2019:  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.  Activities include packing Power Packs for children and Senior Boxes for the elderly as well as food sorting from all of the holiday donations given this season.

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. 


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

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

Liberty Street Market Shifts:  Individuals or groups of 10 or less can schedule a time to volunteer in the Liberty Street Market, 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

December Events:

The Holidays Operations
December 19th & 20th

Over 1.000 volunteers are needed to assist with our December 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 as we are filling up quickly.  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).


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.

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 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 November 2018!
We sincerely appreciate their continued support and contribution of their time.

Mayerson Distribution Center (Tennessee Avenue)

AAA Allied Group, Inc.
ADVICS North America, Inc.
Ameriprise Financial
Ameriprise Further Financial Group
Lions Club
Bayer
Besse Medical
Bobbie B. Fairfax School
Bunge Friends
CIMx Software
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati Reds
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care of Cinti
Danone North America
F + W Media
Fidelity Investments
Fifth Third Bank
General Electric
Harrison High School
Harvard Club of Cincinnati
Illumination Research
Johnson Investment Council
KAO
Kiwanis – Cincinnati
Kiwanis – Greenhills Forest Park
Kroger
Lambda Chi – University of Cincinnati
Marcus & Millichap
McGohan Brabender
Meredith’s Birthday Group
Motz Engineering
MUC Holdings
Office Furniture Source
Paycor
Pep Promotions
PLS Financial Serices
PNC Bank
Procter and Gamble
Redeemer Church
Riley Family
School Outfitters
Slavey/Faulkners Family Group
St. Ursula Academy
St. Xavier High School
The Children’s Home
Toyota Boshoku America
Tri-State Freethinkers
Turner Construction
University of Cincinnati
Voyage
Western Southern Financial
Wise Temple
Wood Herron and Evans LLP
Xavier University

Liberty Street Market (formerly Liberty Street Market)

Belflex Staffing Network
Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Collective Visions, LLC
Crate & Barrel
Easter Seals Tristate
Fidant Wealth Partners
Fifth Third Bank
First Group America
Hughes High School
Kroger
Marathon Petroleum Corporation
Security National Automotive Acceptance Co.- SNAAC

Holiday Box Distribution – Group Homes

Duke Energy

Holiday Operations – Thanksgiving

3CDC
AA Allied Group, Inc.
American Modern Insurance Group
Ameritas
Astellas Pharmaceutical
Barron, Peck, Bennie & Schlemmer
Besse Medical
Cincinnati Bengals and Staff
Cincinnati Business Courier
Delta
Duke Energy
Dynegy
Fidelity Investments
Fifth Third Bank
First Financial Bank
Floor Coverings International
Fund Evaluation Group
General Electric
George Beddie and Assoc./Ameriprise
Go Dutch
Hormel Foods
Hyatt Regency Cincinnati
KLH Engineers
Kroger
Mike Albert
Nestle
New Riff Distilling
News America
Pep Promotions
Pinnacle Technology Partners
PL Marketing
Procter and Gamble
Rhinegeist Brewery
Rogers/Fullen/Palmore Family
RSW/US
Standard Retirement Services
Star One Realtors
Sun Trust Bank
The Gap
The Westin Cincinnati
Tri-State Freethinkers
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Unilever Cincinnati
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
US Bank
Walgreens District 548
World Pay

The Freestore Foodbank Partners with Xavier University to Hold Campus Poverty Simulation

Mediaon December 4th, 2018Comments Off on The Freestore Foodbank Partners with Xavier University to Hold Campus Poverty Simulation

The students filed into Xavier University’s Center for Innovation that Friday evening – many of them exhausted after a long week.  They stood in little groups making small talk, discussing tests and term papers and making plans for Thanksgiving weekend. They were smart and accomplished Computer Science Majors ranging from novice Freshmen to seasoned Seniors preparing to graduate in a few short months. For the next three hours they would be immersed in a Poverty Simulation hosted by the Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning, facilitated by the Freestore Foodbank and put together by the Missouri Community Action Network.

The Simulation benefited two specific student groups:  Computer Science students who, along with their faculty, will be focusing their service learning coursework over the next two years on the Poverty Collaborative shepherded by United Way of Greater Cincinnati.  As directed by their faculty, these students will take on projects as part of their coursework that provide tangible benefits to this initiative and further its significant outcomes. The second group, Xavier’s Community Engaged Fellows, already engage our surrounding communities weekly through service and collaboration as part of their scholarship. This opportunity offered them deeper insight into some of the obstacles that the families, students, and residents they engage.

“Preparing students before they immerse and engage in community activities as part of their learning is essential,” comments Sean Rhiney, Director of the Eigel Center. “The Freestore Foodbank’s Poverty  Simulation served as that critical connector between the lessons in the classroom and the experiences  offered by the community, and ultimately provided students who participated in the simulation with experience and insight into the challenges facing our community’s most vulnerable. This will inform the students’ collaborative work over the next two years working with nonprofits and furthering the outcomes of the Poverty Collaborative. “

The simulation gave participants a first-hand experience of poverty – of what it feels like to be poor and unable to pay rent, purchase food, pay utility bills, afford health care make car payments. Over 60 students attended the Poverty Simulation – a few of them volunteering their time to help facilitate the exercise, while the others were active participants. They each assumed a different identity for the duration of the simulation, handling critical issues that many of our neighbors face on a daily basis – hunger, lack of affordable housing, inability to afford childcare, lack of health care, and eviction.

“The experience was life-altering in many ways,” a student commented afterwards. “It changed my perspective on poverty and the troubles of others. It reminded me that many of the comforts I take for granted in this world, are true blessings that so many others don’t have.” The Xavier faculty and staff hope to make the Poverty Simulation a part of their curriculum and incorporate it into their schedule every year. The Freestore Foodbank is proud to partner with the university to raise awareness about issues related to poverty and hunger on college campuses and in the community. We also appreciate the able assistance of CAIN (Churches Active in Northside) in organizing this wonderful event.

In Search of a Home

Mediaon December 4th, 2018Comments Off on In Search of a Home
I am ..
By Talid Banks
Honesty is a part of me.
I am, by all means true to my scripture that is written on my face.
I am the eyes that capture the important of failure and the significance of success
The past that last
Therefore I am content and not willing to regress
I am the strength to provide halt to the conspiracy that there is NO possibility
I AM!
I am the thought
The courage that we have within
And the tear at the end … that you made it
I am the hand of recovery
The one at aid
I am…

The young woman seated next to me avoids meeting my gaze.  Her soft words reflect a wisdom and grace that contrast with the starkness of her story.  Talid is a 21-year-old member of the LGBTQ community.  We are seated in a huddle room at Lighthouse Youth & Family Services, a partner agency to the Freestore Foodbank. It is the day before Thanksgiving and unlike the rest of the world, the atmosphere inside the building is strangely tense. “The holidays are difficult for our young clients,” says Sheri Hager, Director of Communications and Public Relations at Lighthouse. “Many of them struggle with memories and other triggers associated with the holidays.”   My young friend is no exception. “Thanksgiving is not a favorite!” she states with passion. “Neither is Christmas!” I smile at her, gratified by her willingness to share and trying hard to convey my compassion and respect for one so young and wise beyond her years.

Talid was one of several children, born to a single mom who dated constantly and moved from city to city in search of love and companionship. They travelled from city to city –from Jackson, Mississippi to Texas and then to South Carolina – whenever and wherever her mom’s adventures took them. Talid moved out of her mother’s guardianship as soon as she turned 18. “I wanted to be independent,” she says. “I wanted to be my own person.”  Travelling with her partner, she found herself in Colorado and started working at a meat processing plant there. “My job was messy and horrific,” she remembers. “I worked on carcasses, blood splattering everywhere, covering my hands and my clothes, cutting out inedible pieces of meat with a knife.” It was hard work and she fell ill from sheer exhaustion. Her girl-friend who worked at the same facility was laid off.  While Talid struggled to recover, she lost her job too.  Unable to pay their rent, the couple became homeless almost immediately.

“It was scary,” Talid admits. “Being homeless is scary. We almost froze to death while we wandered around looking for a place to stay.” Most homeless shelters in Colorado gave preference to the old, the disabled or to families with kids.  The fact that they were young and lesbian made it challenging. “Being LGBTQ can cause homelessness because we can face rejection from our family,” says Talid. “In addition, being LGBTQ prolonged our homelessness because of acceptance and safety issues at existing shelters.” Someone eventually gave the young couple Greyhound tickets and they travelled for 30 hours across the country to Cincinnati and knocked on the door of Lighthouse Youth Services. “I had heard of Lighthouse when I’d been passing through Cincinnati during my travels,” Talid muses. “I remembered the kindness and open-mindedness of the staff. And I knew without doubt that I’d be safe here.” Lighthouse welcomed Talid and her partner, providing them with an apartment, warm meals and support services. They began working with a case worker. Talid’s partner who graduated from Freestore Foodbank’s culinary training program is looking for employment as a chef. Talid loves to write poetry and she hopes to land a job in security services. “I am grateful for the support at Lighthouse and I appreciate the compassion and generosity of everyone who works here,” she adds.

Lighthouse, founded in 1969, was the fulfillment of the dream of a group of citizens from the Baptist Women’s Fellowship in Cincinnati and others who sought a better future for young people and families.  Originally a single group home, Lighthouse now provides housing, education, therapeutic and other services to over 5,000 youth and families each year. Early this year the Sheakley Center for Youth opened its door with 36 individual shelter bedrooms, 39 apartments and a resource center for youth aged between 18 and 24.  The Center has operated at full capacity since the day its doors opened. “This tells me the crisis of homelessness among youth in this country has gotten worse over the years,” says David Durr, Shelter Director . “Families have been broken for generations and it is terrible to see so many young people suffer the consequences.” As an agency, Lighthouse tries to reunite youth with their families whenever possible.” “Families provide a support system that every young person needs,” adds Durr. “Our clients are young and they will make mistakes just like all of us. We try to reunite them with family so that they will receive support through life.”

The Freestore Foodbank works closely with Lighthouse to provide food assistance as well a multitude of other stabilization services. “The Freestore Foodbank serves as a one-stop shop for our clients,” remarks Paul Haffner, President and Chief Executive Officer.  “Our young clients often struggle with the complexities of securing identification documents, signing up for Medicaid or managing their own finances. 20% of our clients have developmental disabilities which make it impossible for them to navigate the system on their own. The Freestore Foodbank’s Payee Program helps our young clients use the financial assistance they receive towards paying their rent. “

The Center also works with workforce development programs such as Cincinnati COOKS! offered by the Freestore Foodbank to provide job training and employment opportunities to their clients.  “When we refer a young person to the Freestore Foodbank, we can be confident that he will be taken care of,” adds Durr.

The Freestore Foodbank is proud to partner with Lighthouse and support them in their mission to empower young people and families to succeed through a continuum of care that promotes healing and growth.

 

American Mortgage, Sysco and Coca Cola Consolidated : Supporting the Community

Mediaon December 4th, 2018Comments Off on American Mortgage, Sysco and Coca Cola Consolidated : Supporting the Community

December is here and we are once again in the middle of holiday festivities. The city is festooned with holiday ornaments and lights, adding a rare brilliance and sparkle to our surroundings.  As we get pulled into the spirit of the season, it is easy to forget that the holidays are perhaps the most stressful time of the year for some of our neighbors, especially those who struggle to make ends meet.  The pressure to provide a wholesome holiday meal to one’s family, to find adequate shelter from the freezing cold of December or provide holiday treats to one’s children can prove too much to bear for those who are hungry or homeless.

The Freestore Foodbank is excited to announce our December Holiday Food Distribution sponsored by American Mortgage, Sysco and Coca Cola Consolidated on December 19 and 20 from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 112 East Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Over the span of two remarkable days, the Freestore Foodbank will provide holiday boxes to nearly 7,000 household in the tristate region. The event will also galvanize the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who help us greet and welcome clients, fill holiday boxes, push shopping carts and load and unload groceries.

We are thrilled to have the amazing support of American Mortgage, Sysco and Coca Cola Consolidated and we thank them for joining us in our mission this holiday season to provide nourishment and comfort to our neighbors and to bring holiday cheer to families in our community. “We are grateful for the support of our generous corporate partners – American Mortgage, Sysco and Coca Cola Consolidated. We are very thankful to them for making it easier for us to accomplish our mission. Their support helps offset the cost of the food we distribute and we are grateful for their help!” comments Kurt Reiber, President and CEO of the Freestore Foodbank.  We look forward to continuing to work with the community to make the holiday season more meaningful  and enjoyable to families in the tristate region. And we are thankful to our extraordinary sponsors and volunteers who will help make the holidays memorable for our neighbors.

Community Partners

Mediaon November 29th, 2018Comments Off on Community Partners

http://www.uwgc.org

https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/

https://www.sos.state.oh.us/

Food Assistance

https://www.bbb.org/

https://www.feedingamerica.org/

https://www.gcfdn.org/

https://www.charitynavigator.org/

Rent Assistance