According to a recent Cincinnati Business Courier article, Ohio food banks are struggling to meet the increase in demand caused by pandemic-driven unemployment – while simultaneously coping with logistical challenges and rising costs. The NEEDS food pantry is one of many organizations that rely on dedicated volunteers to keep serving our community in the midst of unprecedented challenges. Since opening drive-through pantry service three weeks ago, NEEDS has served 50 families – over 200 people! NEEDS volunteers also provided over two dozen bags of food to Deer Park students during the first week of school closure, helping to fill the gap between school food programs and government assistance.
NEEDS is so grateful to Kenwood Baptist Church volunteer coordinator Melody Hamilton, who is doing a wonderful job of directing drive-through traffic and supervising outdoor staff (including several student volunteers). Safety remains a top priority, and Barb Davis and the Sycamore Presbyterian Sewciables have kindly provided face masks to keep our volunteers protected – and stylish!
Of course, the NEEDS drive-through pantry would not be possible without community support. At this time, NEEDS is only accepting financial donations, in order to minimize handling of food and ensure safe shopping. During her last trip to the Freestore Foodbank (one of NEEDS’ main suppliers), pantry coordinator Maureen Flanagan discovered that the Freestore is now being staffed by the National Guard. The Guardsmen help to load boxes into cars, as well as assemble orders for distribution across Cincinnati. It is so encouraging to see that those in our city who need help are being reached. We know that many families will need continued support over the coming weeks and months.
NEEDS deeply appreciates financial support as we do our best to keep pantry shelves stocked. A donation of $60 is enough to feed a family for a week. If you would like to give to NEEDS, please visit https://cincyneeds.org/donate-volunteer/.