NorthEast Emergency Distribution Services (NEEDS)
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NEWS: 1-14-14

Blue Ash Y “Pays It Forward” for NEEDS

“Pay It Forward” seemed to be the theme this winter starting with the Blue Ash YMCA. Marci Hedges, Senior Engagement Specialist took it upon herself to find a local charity that was both “in sync” with the focus of the Y and helped those in the community of the Blue Ash Y. As she explained to Northeast Emergency Distribution Services (NEEDS) volunteers, “Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility are the focuses of the Y. Our members reside in the area served by NEEDS but more importantly the mission of NEEDS coincides with that of the Y's.  By engaging our membership in a NEEDS food drive the Blue Ash Y demonstrates that we are more than a gym; we are a community."

As a direct result of Marci’s desire to help NEEDS, the Sycamore Plaza Old Navy also collected for NEEDS .  This is what it means to “Pay It Forward”, one good deed leads to another.  As a result of Marci, Blue Ash Y and Old Navy’s desire to serve the community by supporting NEEDS, more families will be able to feed their children and sustain themselves during the cold of winter.

It is the mission of Northeast Emergency Distribution Service (NEEDS) to provide emergency assistance to the neediest families in the Northeast Cincinnati community. Though feeding families is the primary goal of NEEDS, during the winter months it also takes up the “call” to provide disadvantaged children with hats, gloves and socks. The distribution of clothing items is done through school nurses at both the public and private area schools.

NEEDS is a community of 25 churches and civic organizations whose mission is to do God’s work through caring for their neighbors by providing basic emergency assistance.  NEEDS is an all-volunteer cooperative located in the Kenwood Baptist Church and NEEDS does not receive government support.  The NEEDS board oversees an active foodbank, as well as provides neighbors-in-need with housing and utility payment assistance.  During the year NEEDS supports local schools through school supply and clothing item drives. NEEDS serves more than 2,500 people in northeastern Hamilton County.

Just like the Blue Ash YMCA and Sycamore Plaza Old Navy any community group, business or neighborhood can collect canned goods, non-perishable food items such as school supplies and/or raise monetary funds for NEEDS.   Items that are most urgent include: canned fruits and vegetables, beans (with meat as it provides protein), prepared foods (spaghetti, raviolis, beef stews), tuna, peanut butter, jelly, cereal and spaghetti sauce.

The NEEDS food pantry is located at the Kenwood Baptist Church, 8341 Kenwood Road, 45236 and is open Tuesday and Thursdays from 9 am – 1 pm.  Donations of canned goods and other items are always accepted at the NEEDS food pantry. Monetary gifts can be mailed to: NEEDS, 8341 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45236. For pick-up of donated items or to ask questions please call (513) 891-0850 (NEEDS) or checkout NEEDS website:


Back row: Marci Hedges, YMCA Senior Engagement Specialist and Jim Condo,
YMCA Membership Engagement Specialist.

Front Row: Lisa Sawyer (1 years old), Colten (3 years old) Frentzel from Pleasant
Ridge and Shane (6 years old), Nancy, and Jesse (2 years old) Spencer, from Maderia.


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Image courtesy of amenic181 /