“Humble Beginnings and a Heart To Help”
In 1971, Frank Gerson worked at Cincinnati’s incinerator and saw far too many usable household goods being thrown away. So, he salvaged them and gave them out to families struggling to make ends meet. Gerson eventually needed a truck to collect items for repair as demand for goods was so high.
He named his practice The Free Store, and our organization began. Before long, people started asking for food, so we started giving that away, too. For free. The operation continued to grow, and today we provide more than 37 million meals a year. And it all started with a man with a heart to help others.
“Frank had a vision of a community that was free from want and need,” says Free store Foodbank CEO Kurt Reiser. “He envisioned a community where children did not have to worry about where their next meal would come from. He saw our organization serving that community, providing food and services to people in crisis and moving them to self-reliance.”
Frank laid the groundwork for free store Foodbank 52 years ago. Now, in our new space, we’ll continue to build on that foundation, strengthen our partnerships and expand our ability to serve our neighbors.