Tag Archives: Freestore Foodbank

What’s At Stake in Duck Regatta – The Tri-State’s Response To Hunger

The 18th annual Rubber Duck Regatta is this Sunday, September 2nd at 3pm. The ducks will be dropped from the Purple People Bridge into the Ohio River where they will begin a race along the Serpentine Wall. You can purchase a duck to compete in the race.

There is much at stake with this event, the largest single fundraiser for the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank.

The Freestore provides emergency food aid for the hungry in the Tri-State. They depend on donations both from the public and the government. Hunger is a huge crisis in the area. A Feeding America study showed that in Hamilton County over 18 percent of the population suffers from hunger, or food insecurity.

This summer’s drought is having an impact on the cost of food, placing a further strain on the hungry and charities. However, the worst may be yet to come. The Department of Agriculture says the impact of food prices in stores “typically takes several months to occur, and most of the impact of the drought is expected to be realized in 2013.”

If food prices rise more people will fall deeper into hunger, having even less ability to put food on the table. Others who may be struggling to get by will also need food assistance. The Freestore will need all the support it can get to help those in need.

In addition, Congress is planning to scale back food stamps, which at a time of rising food prices and high unemployment is a recipe for disaster.

Fundraisers for the Freestore take on a great urgency when you consider the potential hunger crisis that is fast gathering.

The Freestore says, “For just $25 – the price of six ducks – the Freestore Foodbank can feed a family of four for an entire week.” You can help out the Freestore and buy a duck at their web site until 2 pm eastern time Sunday, September 2nd at www.freestorefoodbank.org


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Freestore, Public Library Seek to Escalate Fight Against Hunger in Cincinnati

The Power Pack provides children food for weekends during the school year. (Freestore Foodbank photo)

The Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank and the Cincinnati Public Library each want to expand child feeding programs throughout the city. Their proposals follow a Feeding America study that showed over 25 percent of children in Ohio suffer from hunger or food insecurity. Within Hamilton County, Ohio the child hunger rate is just above 21 percent.

The Freestore wants to expand its school year Power Pack program for children. The Power Pack contains 9-12 non-perishable food items like cereal, fruit cups and pasta. It is provided to children so they can have food at their home over weekends when they cannot access the federal school lunch and breakfast program. It’s a way to ensure children do not suffer from hunger.

Kathy Greenberg of the Freestore says, “In the 2011-12 academic year, Power Packs were provided to the neediest 10% of our children in poverty in 90 schools. For the upcoming 2012-13 academic year, we will deepen our reach to 15% since the need continues to grow.” The schools are selected based on how much they participate in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program, which is a safety net for America’s kids established in 1946. Interestingly, some of the earliest school feeding in the country was pioneered by a Cincinnati school teacher named Ella Walsh in 1908.

The Cincinnati Public Library is also seeking to help out during this school year in ending child hunger. Diane Smiley, the Youth Services Coordinator for the Library, says “we’re looking at developing a community partnership that would provide free and healthy afterschool snacks to kids at our Homework Help sites…I’m hopeful that it will grow into a reality and maybe as early as the 2012-13 school year.”

This summer the Public Library is working with the Freestore to provide summer feeding as well as a backpack program so children can have a food supply for the weekends. The programs run by the Freestore and the Library will likely become even more significant with the rise in food prices resulting from the drought that has struck much of the country. Families will be in extra need of these food safety nets.

See also:

Ohio has childhood hunger crisis

Summer Feeding Means Summer Learning

Backpacks Fight Hunger in America

Article first published as Freestore, Public Library Seek to Escalate Fight Against Child Hunger in Cincinnati on Blogcritics.

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Summer Feeding Means Summer Learning

This summer the Cincinnati Public Library is hosting summer feeding programs at many of its branch libraries (Cincinnnati Public Library photo)

This summer the city of Cincinnati is trying to ensure that no child goes hungry. This is especially critical with Feeding America‘s recent report that over 25 percent of children suffer from hunger or “food insecurity” in Ohio.

Free meals for children ages 1-18 are being distributed at a number of sites across the city including Cincinnati Public Library branches.

Lisa Hamrick, the manager of the North Central Library branch, says, “I believe we have been incredibly successful in serving lunch to children who might otherwise not eat throughout the day. In fact, many of the children coming to eat lunch arrive at the library when we open at 10:00 (they are actually standing outside waiting for the doors to open) and many days they don’t leave until after 6:00 pm – occasionally they stay until we close at 9:00 pm.”

The North Central branch has served 625 meals to children so far this summer. In fact, according to Hamrick, children are discovering new foods like pita bread, green pepper slices, pears and liking them, a possible exception being hummus.

The US Dept of Agriculture, Cincinnati Public Schools, the Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati Cooks, and other partners are providing the food for these library feeding programs.

Here’s some feedback on how the library summer feeding plan is going throughout the city. Diane Smiley, the Youth Services coordinator for the Public Library says, “The results are still mixed at this point. Several of our locations are drawing sizable numbers of children while others are having smaller numbers than we’d like so far.”

As is the case with the North Central branch the summer meals are leading to increased use of libraries. Smiley says, “many of our branches participating in the summer lunch program are encouraging the kids to also participate in the Library’s annual summer reading program.”

Debby Carrico, the manager for Elmwood Place library branch, says, “We have noticed an increase in use of the library both for circulation and use of our computers. Program attendance has gone up some as well, since they usually follow the lunches. ”

The Elmwood Place branch is seeing around 10-12 children daily receive the meals. Carrico adds, “Parents sometimes come with the children to help supervise and this is a plus because we rarely see the parents at this branch as they are working several shifts to survive financially. This has been a GREAT service to this neighborhood.”

Drew Pearson, the branch manager for the Bond Hill Library branch says, “we have seen increases in library use as well as Summer Reading participation. This summer our lunch program has averaged 18 participants a day…..Many of the children and teens who have enjoyed the free lunch have listened as staff promoted the opportunity to win prizes for reading. The grand prizes this summer have been very enticing.”

The link between summer food and reading and learning is strong. Tony Fairhead, the director of Childhood Food Solutions (CFS), works to bring summer feeding to hungry children in the Cincinnati area. CFS provides food to students at the Roll Hill Academy. Fairhead says, “Without summer food, we can’t really imagine the children will be able to return to school ready to learn. I think that summer food explains why we have seen this improvement from 25% to 76% for the vitally important third grade reading proficiency.

Fairhead explains, “Teachers provide the academics and Childhood Food Solutions, along with partners like Walmart, makes sure the kids have the nourishment they need during the summer break. We have been tracking reading and math proficiency and test achievement has been increasing since CFS began providing summer food. At Roll Hill, third grade reading proficiency has increased from 25% to 76% since summer food began in 2008.”

Fairhead says these results led the assistant principal at Roll Hill to exclaim two years ago, “Academics + Food = Achievement!”

The charity our Daily Bread, located in downtown Cincinnati, does not host an official summer feeding site but they do have a program called the Kids Club. It’s an after school program for children ages 5-13 and it runs during the summer as well. Children can get a meal, computer access and do arts and crafts projects. The charity relies on donations from the public to offer these programs.

Natalie Fields, the manager of the Deer Park library branch, says, “We serve an average of 10 children a day. Happily, some of those children are staying to attend library programs, participate in the Library’s Summer Reading Program, and use the Library’s resources. I’d say our overall library use and program attendance have seen a small increase so far as a result of the Summer Lunch Program.

Joan Luebering of the Sharonville branch says, “we do see a few new faces” using the library since the summer feeding began. Ned Heeger-Brehm of the Groesbeck branch library notices some new patrons as well since the start of summer feeding. Denise Scretchen of the Deer Park branch library notes the positive impact of the summer feeding with about 15-20 children attending every day it’s offered.

Liz Anderson, the children’s librarian at the Reading Branch Library, says they are serving about 10 children a day with meals. On one day they had as many as 28 children attend. She has noticed some increased use of the library especially when parents arrive with their children.

Frank Dugan, the manager of the Corryville Library, said that more kids came to library programs as a result of the summer feeding while it was offered. The Corryville branch, as well as some others, discontinued their summer feeding for lack of attendance.

There are issues that need to be addressed to determine how future summer feeding should take place and where. It must be determined why low attendance might occur at one site but not another. In some cases it may just be a case of awareness of the summer feeding availability.

With the summer heat though sometimes libraries lose out on attendance. For instance the Pleasant Ridge library branch had small figures of attendance for summer feeding. David Dukart, the manager of the Pleasant Ridge Library, said that they fed 20 children on a few days but most others they were in the range of 4-8 in attendance. However, the nearby Pleasant Ridge Pool’s summer feeding site served 256 meals in the first week of July alone. Regardless of where the meals are offered its vital they are available.

With school out children in need lose access to the free and reduced prices lunches offered through the national lunch program. But distribution of food during summer becomes a problem with schools closed. With hunger on the rise in Cincinnati and throughout the country it becomes vital to make sure safety nets are in place for the vulnerable.

The need for safety nets like school feeding will become even more important with the expected increase in food prices from this summer’s drought. If you can combine this need with learning it makes for a productive combo.

As Smiley says, “We hope to feed both their bodies and their minds!”

Hamrick says, “as challenging as this has been for us, it is also rewarding to have kids we know wouldn’t eat lunch, let alone a nutritious lunch, eat and leave with a smile because they are full and content.”

Starting this week the North Central branch and others will also be adding a “backpack” component. This is a special package of non-perishable food that children can take home to use over the weekends when the summer feeding at the library is not available.

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Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank Summer Feeding Sites for Children

When summer comes children are at an increased risk of hunger since they lose access to the free or reduced price meals available at school. Summer feeding programs need to be established to fill in the gaps. In Hamilton County last year there were 45,950 needy students who took part in the federal lunch program during the school year while only 3,990 children received summer feeding. (Feeding America photo)

The Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank, with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has announced the summer food service program. From June 11 through Aug. 10 (closed July 4th) children ages 1-18 will be able to receive lunches at eight sites throughout the city. The Freestore Foodbanks’s Cincinnati Cooks students will prepare the meals which will include sandwiches and tuna salad.

During the school year children from lower income families have access to free or reduced price meals via the federal school lunch program. When school closes, children often lose access to these meals unless summer feeding is sponsored.

The Children’s Hunger Alliance of Ohio reports that in Hamilton County last year 45,950 eligible children took part in the free/reduced price lunch program. In the summer though only 3,990 eligible children received meals because of the difficulty distributing food with school closed.

Governor John Kasich recently issued an executive order which would provide $1 million to help increase summer feeding coverage in parts of the state. More funding will be needed though to help Cincinnati and other areas provide more summer meals.

Jessica Shelly, the food service director of Cincinnati Public Schools, says that free breakfast will be served at school sites during the summer. This will be a continuation of the free breakfast program offered when school is in session.

A recent report from Feeding America showed that 18 percent of the population of Hamilton County is suffering from hunger or “food insecurity.” The availability of free or reduced price meals is vital to fighting a child hunger crisis in the Tri-State area.

The eight locations for Freestore Foodbank summer lunches beginning June 11 include:

Deer Park Public Library (3970 E. Galbraith Rd. Cincinnati OH 45236, M-F 12:00-12:30pm) 513-369-4450

Elmwood Place Public Library (6120 Vine St. Cincinnati OH 45216, M-F 1:00-1:30pm) 513-369-4452

Forest Park Public Library (655 Waycross Rd. Cincinnati OH 45240, M-F 12:00-12:30pm) 513-369-4478

Groesbeck Public Library (2994 W. Galbraith Rd. Cincinnati OH 45239 M-F 12:00-12:30pm) 513-369-4454

North Central Public Library (11109 Hamilton Ave. Cincinnati OH 45231 M-F 12:00-12:30pm) 513-369-6068

Reading Public Library (9001 Reading Rd. Cincinnati OH 45215 M-F 12:00-1:00pm) 513-369-4465

Sharonville Public Library (10980 Thornview Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45241 M-F 12:00-12:30pm) 513-369-6049

Skyline Community Center (8500 Pippin Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45251 M-F 12:00-1:00pm) (513) 729-0757

Read about more summer feeding sites run by Cincinnati Public Schools.

article originally published May 24th at Cincinnati.com

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The Stamp Out Hunger Drive: Helping to End Hunger in America

This Saturday provides an opportunity to end hunger in America, and it all starts at your mailbox. The National Association of Letter Carriers and the Campbell Soup Company are sponsoring the Stamp Out Hunger Drive. This Saturday, May 12th, citizens are asked to put out canned goods (non-perishable items) by their mailbox. The food will be collected by their mail carrier and then distributed to foodbanks.

The charity Feeding America says the Stamp Out Hunger Drive is the largest single food drive in the country. The event provides a significant boost to Feeding America’s network of emergency foodbanks across the country.

Sarah Cook of the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank says that last year Stamp Out Hunger donations produced enough food for 80,000 meals provided to the area’s hungry. Denise Gibson of the Ozarks Food Harvest said 131,000 pounds of food were donated by citizens of Southwest Missouri via Stamp Out Hunger.

Terry Shannon, the President of the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Arizona says Stamp Out Hunger raises “Between 350,000 and 400,000 pounds (of food). It is the largest one day food drive for the food bank.” St. Mary’s provides aid throughout Arizona including supporting summer feeding for children in Maricopa County. The agency also assists Apache County, which has a 28% food insecurity rate, one of the highest in the country.

Dan Getman of the Food Bank of South Jersey said the event last year produced 119,550 pounds for their agency to distribute. Getman adds that Campbell’s Soup is sending out collection bags to homes in South Jersey to encourage donations.

Foodbanks all across the country need help as there are nearly 49 million people suffering from hunger.

The collection of canned goods can provide some quick relief especially at a time of the year when donations are generally down as compared to the holidays.

There is one extra thing Americans can do via the Stamp Out Hunger Drive. You could send a letter or an e-mail this Saturday to your representative in Congress asking them to fight hunger. You can remind them of the need to support the nation’s foodbanks as you will be doing on Stamp Out Hunger Day.

Nora Balduff of the Second Harvest Foodbanks of Ohio says Stamp Out Hunger “comes at a lean time of year for emergency food relief, after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.” The Mid-Ohio Foodbank, West Ohio Foodbank, Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, The Foodbank, Inc. (Dayton), and The Shared Harvest Foodbank (Fairfield) all benefit from Stamp Out Hunger.

Balduff adds that the event “also comes at a time when one of our federal partners in hunger relief, the U.S. House of Representatives, could vote on May 10th to cut SNAP/food stamp benefits by an average of $57.00 for a family of four by September 2012 (H.R. 4666)…Caring Ohioans do their part to end hunger, we need our federal partners to do the same.”

You can also ask your representative to take steps to improve the nation’s school feeding program, particularly during the summer months when many hungry children are not able to access school meals.

Ask your representative to pledge to fight hunger in America and also abroad where children are starving in Africa, Afghanistan, Yemen and other areas. Your elected officials can follow a tradition of Truman, Eisenhower and other leaders who supported ending hunger.

So this Saturday’s Stamp Out Hunger Drive can be a great success. By donating canned goods you can provide quick relief to our nation’s foodbanks as they struggle to keep up with the growing hunger crisis in America. Via a simple letter you can ask your elected officials in Congress to represent you and your desire to end hunger in America and all over the globe.

For more information visit Stamp Out Hunger.

Article first published as The Stamp Out Hunger Drive: Helping to End Hunger in America on Blogcritics.

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Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank Starts Tornado Relief Fund

A house leveled by the tornadoes that struck the Tri-State of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana (Freestore Foodbank photo)

The Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank has started a relief fund in response to the devastating tornadoes last week in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.

The Freestore, a member of the Feeding America network, is the largest food aid provider in the Greater Cincinnati area. Some of the member agencies the Freestore partners with were impacted by the storms.

The Freestore has been providing food aid to communities struck by the tornadoes, including a distribution yesterday in Moscow, Ohio. That town saw around 80 percent of its homes damaged in the storm.

You can donate to the relief fund at their web site. The Freestore says the donated funds “will be evenly distributed to our member agencies in devastated areas, and used to purchase items they need to bring comfort and stability back into the lives of the people in our communities.”


The Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank's Mobile Food Pantry is bringing food to families affected by the massive tornadoes in the Tri-State area of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. (Freestore Foodbank photo)

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Freestore Foodbank Deploys Mobile Pantry for Tornado Relief

The Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank's Mobile Pantry

The Freestore Foodbank of Cincinnati is distributing relief supplies to tornado devastated communities in the Tri-State area of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Last Friday tornadoes ripped through numerous towns, destroying homes and leaving many people with a severe shortage of basic supplies.

The Freestore, a member of the Feeding America network, is using its Kraft Mobile Food Pantry to get supplies to storm victims. The Pantry was in Crittenden, Kentucky on Wednesday bringing food to the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission disaster relief area.

On Friday, March 9th the pantry will be at the Grant Memorial Church in Moscow, Ohio, a town which saw around 80 percent of its homes damaged by the tornadoes. On March 13th the mobile pantry will bring food to Pendleton County storm victims at the Flower Creek Community Center. The Freestore is also helping distribute soap, toothpaste and other personal hygiene items.

Kelloggs is donating a truckload of cereal to the Freestore to use for this relief mission.

You can donate to the Freestore’s tornado relief fund at their web site. Spokesperson Anna Hogan says, “we will split the donated funds between our member agencies in the affected areas to purchase supplies.”

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