The Volunteer Connection June 2017

Mediaon June 5th, 2017Comments Off on The Volunteer Connection June 2017

Volunteer Spotlight:  Dan Burns

When Dan is asked why he’s volunteered with the Freestore Foodbank at the Giving Fields for the last six years, he simply responds, “Because it’s in my backyard.”  He is not kidding.  Dan is a local resident of Melbourne, Kentucky and has been one of our loyal volunteers since the early days of the Giving Fields project.  Most days, we see Dan navigating the rows, fence lines, and pretty much the entire length of the 10-acre farm driving a lawn mower and making sure that the fields and surroundings are well kept.  He says, “You should’ve seen the farm when it first started!  Often you couldn’t tell where the plants stopped and the grass and weeds started.  Now it’s a lovely place and people enjoy coming by, just to admire the beautiful landscape and garden.”

The real reason Dan has diligently mowed, weeded and assisted our Giving Fields’ Farm Managers for the last six years is because it is, as he himself puts it, “something simple that I can do to contribute to our community.” Although he is not a farmer himself, Dan is proud to share his knowledge and experience from owning a construction company over the years.  Maintaining the lawn is something he enjoys doing in his retirement.  He and his wife raised their family nearby and have tended their own garden over the years.  His son, Tony, and grandson, AJ, also frequently volunteer at the Giving Fields.

Dan knows the importance of including fresh fruits and vegetables in children’s meals.  He loves to look around and see the hundreds of pounds of food that are ready to be harvested and the thankful faces of the community partners who pick it up to deliver to our neighbors in need.  It brings a good feeling to be part of the effort to feed the hungry and it is worth the time that he spends volunteering at the farm .

The Giving Fields relies on the help of dedicated volunteers like Dan.  During the 2016 growing season, over 2,400 volunteers assisted with planting, weeding, harvesting, and gleaning.  No matter what their skill level, volunteers are able to help with our efforts to bring fresh healthy produce to our community agencies in Northern Kentucky.  Last year, the farm provided produce to supplement nearly 120,000 meals.  This year, we are seeking more volunteers to aid in this effort.  The farm is located only 15 minutes away from downtown Cincinnati in Melbourne, Kentucky.  We welcome kids, families, large groups and corporations. Come dig in the dirt this summer alongside Dan Burns, our extraordinary volunteer, Karen Huseman, our new Farm Manager, and Sara Steinkamp, our new Volunteer Engagement Specialist. Help us make a difference in the community!

For more information about volunteering at The Giving Fields or for questions about donating gardening items or supplies, please email our Volunteer Services Department at or call (513) 482-7550.

A Huge Hunger Walk Thank You!

While thousands of people walked to help raise funds to solve hunger on Memorial Day, a dedicated crew of over 100 volunteers helped our staff to run the event and made the 2017 Hunger Walk 5K a huge success!  Every step taken helped the Freestore Foodbank to finish strong.  The Hunger Walk raised funds to support our partner agencies. Whether you ran, walked or helped the Freestore to organize the event, we want to thank you for your efforts!  Together, we can solve hunger!

Volunteer Fun in the Summer Sun: Upcoming Events and Opportunities

We need your help to accomplish our mission to feed our hungry neighbors, while providing opportunities for them to become more self-sufficient.  We need volunteers every day to help grow healthy fruits and vegetables on the farm, sort and pack food donations in our warehouse, share skills and knowledge in our workforce development efforts, as well as lead special events in our community.  Whatever your passion, we can find a fit for you as we work together to solve hunger in the tristate region.

Check out the volunteer registration and information page to sign up to volunteer for our ongoing group and individual volunteer opportunities at the Giving Fields, Mayerson Distribution Center, Customer Connection Center and Special Events in the community.

Giving Fields (Melbourne, KY)
Do you have a green thumb, want to get closer to nature or just like to play in the dirt while making a difference in our community?  
Are you looking for an individual, family or corporate group activity? If so, the Giving Fields is the place for you!

Volunteers of all ages are needed to help plant, weed, and create a more food-secure environment for all.  Giving Fields’ volunteers will help care for and harvest the many different crops that are donated to community pantries in Northern Kentucky.  Tasks vary per day, but may include any of the following tasks: planting, weeding, mulching, harvesting and gleaning.   Check out available dates here:  I Want to Volunteer at the Giving Fields!

Mayerson Distribution Center (Bond Hill)
Would you like to help provide millions of meals each month to our hungry neighbors in the tri-state?
  If so, the Mayerson Distribution Center is the place for you!

Volunteers assist with a variety of warehouse activities that will enable Freestore Foodbank to provide healthy stable food to children, youth and adults throughout the tri-state.  Projects will vary based on the time of the year, product supply and demand.  This summer, volunteers will focus on three major projects:

Innovative Summer Meal Program:  Many children received free and reduced breakfast and lunches during the school year, but when summer comes they may not know where their next meal will come from. Through the Innovative Summer Meal Program, volunteer assemble food boxes that ensures that children will have meals during the summer months until school resumes.

Food Sorting Program:  Volunteers evaluate, sort, and box non-perishable food donations from community food drives which are then sent to one of the three fifty community partner agencies for distribution.

Senior Box Program:  Volunteers assemble shelf stable boxes of food for elderly residents who need a little extra assistance monthly.

I want to volunteer at the Mayerson Distribution Center!

Ongoing Volunteer Events
Would you like to commit to one or more 4 hour shifts a week and share your special skills or experience with the staff and customers of the Freestore Foodbank
?  Do you possess valuable knowledge that can help promote the mission of the agency and self-sufficiency of our customers?

Volunteers are needed to assist in a variety of areas throughout the agency depending on your skills and passion.  Currently, we are seeking volunteers in following areas:

  • Communication and Front Desk Reception at the Customer Connection Center
  • Hospitality and Customer services in the Stop & Shop Area at the Mayerson Distribution Center
  • Soft Skill Instructors for Cincinnati Cooks! and Lift the Tri-State
  • and other various projects throughout the agency.

Email  Volunteer Services to explore these and other ongoing opportunities.

Special Events
Mid-July through early September – Check Out Duck (At select Kroger stores in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana). We will be gearing up for “Duck Season” at the Freestore Foodbank in preparation of the 23rd Annual Rubber Duck Regatta shortly!  We are seeking volunteers to help maintain duck placards (coupon holders) with tear off coupons at local Kroger checkout counters and UScan stations for the coming campaign next month. This fundraiser is a convenient way for people to buy ducks as they pay for their groceries. Last year, this campaign yielded close to $200,000 in duck sales with the help of our partners at Kroger and our dedicated volunteers. Mark your calendar now for this upcoming special event opportunity.  Details will be posted on the website by mid-June.


Donations of canned goods are needed all year around, not just at the holidays! With schools out for the summer, more children are at home and are in need of nutritious healthy options.  If you would like to organize a canned food 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 May 2017!
We sincerely appreciate their continued support and contribution of their time.

Mayerson Distribution Center (Tennessee Avenue)

  • A Children’s Home
  • Cincinnati Bell
  • Fifth Third
  • Gamble Montessori High School
  • General Electric
  • Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kiwanis
  • Lakeside Presbyterian Church
  • Macy’s
  • Marathon Petroleum Corporation
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Redeemer Church
  • St. Xavier School
  • The Gathering-Slagle
  • Tri-State Freethinkers
  • Turpin High School
  • Unaffiliated Users
  • US Bank
  • Vantiv
  • Western Southern Financial

Giving Fields (Melbourne, KY)

  • Celanese
  • Keurig Green Mountain
  • Cincinnati Bell
  • UPS
  • Michelman
  • Fifth Third
  • Unilever Cincinnati
  • KeyBank
  • Seven Hills High School
  • Empire Marketing Strategies

Liberty Street Market (Liberty Street)

  • Cintas
  • Fifth Third

FeedingWorks: Transformational Teambuilding

Looking for a new way to strengthen your team’s ability to communicate, problem-solve and manage conflict while improving your opportunities to provide successful outcomes? Looking for an opportunity to not only grow stronger as a team internally, but to make an external impact on the community? Consider FeedingWorks, the Freestore Foodbank’s social enterprise.

FeedingWorks is a unique combination of professional leadership development and the transformational experience of a team working together to make a tangible difference in the lives of others. Teams form genuine bonds through this experience which is based on the principle of giving back while developing yourself and your team.

For more information about how your company can benefit from FeedingWorks, please visit