Author: Olivia Foltz Buyniski

Thank You, St. Ursula Academy!

For many high school students, summer vacation is an eagerly awaited opportunity to fulfill community service requirements. This is especially true for students at St. Ursula Academy, an East Walnut Hills school that champions service as a core value. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Ursula staff recently found creative ways to continue honoring the school’s commitment to service.

St. Ursula Academy usually provides funding to support a variety of student service activities. This summer, the academy generously donated a portion of those funds to supply the NEEDS pantry with its most urgently needed items. In addition, St. Ursula has placed NEEDS on their summer service list, encouraging students to meet service requirements by donating to NEEDS.

NEEDS is so grateful for the support of St. Ursula Academy this summer. Thank you!

For more information about supporting NEEDS, please visit http://cincyneeds.org/donate-volunteer/.

NEEDS Helps Tamar’s Center Serve the Homeless

For the past few months, most of us have done our best to protect our families by staying safely at home – only venturing out for essentials like food and medication. But what about the people in our community who don’t have safe homes?

Tamar’s Center, a shelter that cares for women struggling with addiction and exploitation, recently took action by installing a free hand washing center in Over the Rhine (https://www.wlwt.com/article/hand-washing-station-installed-in-over-the-rhine-to-keep-cincinnatis-homeless-safe-during-pandemic/32588058). Many Tamar’s Center clients are homeless and often go without basic toiletry items. To help support these clients, NEEDS has donated a large number of individual toiletries for Tamar’s Center to distribute. NEEDS donors generously share personal care items of all sizes; while large sizes are ideal for the families we serve, smaller sizes are perfect for the women who are served by Tamar’s Center. NEEDS is so grateful to be able to share with another wonderful organization.

For more information about Tamar’s Center, visit https://www.franciscanministriesinc.org/tamar-s-center.html.

Thank You, Moeller High School!

As any parent can attest, the last few months of the school year were a chaotic time. Isolated from friends, and with routines totally disrupted, many students struggled to focus on schoolwork – especially as the year dwindled to a close, with no return to normalcy in sight. Impressively, the students of Archbishop Moeller High School made an effort to help others before wrapping up school for the summer, by organizing a multi-day food drive to benefit NEEDS and other organizations.

Under Moeller’s House System, students from all four grades are divided into communities that promote mentoring and leadership development. House System director Karen Matuszek challenged the houses to see which community could contribute the most food and personal care items. A convenient drive-through setup enabled Moeller families to drop off donations easily and safely. The results were phenomenal: several tables were completely covered with essential supplies!

NEEDS is so grateful to the Moeller House System for helping us to meet the needs of our clients during an incredibly stressful time. Thank you!

Serving Our Community Together

“A bucket brigade on a five-alarm fire.” According to a recent Time article (https://time.com/5825944/food-banks-coronavirus/), that’s how the Ohio Association of Foodbanks’ executive director describes the plight of food pantries across our state. Hit hard by the economic repercussions of COVID-19, countless people who never dreamed of seeking aid are turning to organizations like NEEDS in order to feed their families. It’s a challenge to keep pantry shelves stocked – and that’s why NEEDS is so grateful to the local businesses, churches, and individuals who are helping our pantry to stay open during crisis.

Recently, NEEDS received a generous donation of frozen meat from La Soupe (https://lasoupe.org/) – a Cincinnati organization that fights both waste and hunger by rescuing perishable food. The NEEDS freezer didn’t have enough space for the donation, so pantry coordinators Janie and Maureen reached out to the Community of the Good Shepherd for assistance. Less than an hour later, the donated meat was safely stored in the Good Shepherd parish’s industrial freezer. What a wonderful example of different groups each doing their part to support our community! Thanks to La Soupe’s generosity and Good Shepherd’s loan of freezer space, NEEDS can supply clients with much-needed food that would otherwise be wasted.

If you would like to support NEEDS, we welcome financial donations! Simply mail a check payable to NEEDS to:
NEEDS c/o Kenwood Baptist Church
8341 Kenwood Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45236 

Donations can also be made through your bank’s online payment service or Zelle. Just use CincyNeedsTreasurer@gmail.com as the recipient email. For more information about supporting NEEDS, please visit http://cincyneeds.org/donate-volunteer/.

Thank You to New Partners!

Serving dozens of clients each week, the NEEDS pantry always relies on support from individuals and companies who care about their community. We are happy to highlight three partners who are helping us to continue serving our clients under extraordinary circumstances.

Trader Joe’s (https://locations.traderjoes.com/oh/cincinnati/669/): To ensure safety, the NEEDS pantry is now operating as a drive-through service. Volunteers pre-pack a variety of food and dry goods that clients can pick up and take home. Our local Trader Joe’s has donated the paper bags that volunteers use for packing groceries. Thank you to Trader Joe’s for helping to keep the pantry running smoothly!

JB Meats (36 Clinton Springs Ave, Cincinnati OH 45217): Even those of us who aren’t in financial straits may struggle to buy what we need during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s especially challenging for the NEEDS pantry to stock fresh food for our clients – so we are extremely grateful to JB Meats for providing delivery service! JB Meats is flexible and responsive to our changing needs, and they deliver regularly at a reasonable price. Thank you to JB Meats for being a strong and reliable partner!

Pet Supplies Plus (https://www.petsuppliesplus.com/Store/OH/Blue-Ash/Blue-Ash/218, https://www.petsuppliesplus.com/Store/OH/Cincinnati/Symmes/234): As unemployment rates skyrocket, many people are struggling to feed their families – not to mention their pets. Luckily, Pet Supplies Plus is here to help. In March, the Blue Ash store made NEEDS their charity of the month, donating enough pet food, treats, and toys to fill several SUVs. Meanwhile, the Harper’s Point store has invited NEEDS to stop by every two weeks to pick up whatever they have available to donate to our clients – and again, SUVs have been filled with donated pet supplies. Thank you to Pet Supplies Plus for meeting an often-overlooked need!

Drive-Through Pantry Update April 8, 2020

Pantry shelves are quickly depleted as we operate our new drive-through service.

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/.

NEEDS Still Serving in Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic shuts down businesses and leaves many families without income, organizations like NEEDS face a dilemma: how can we continue to serve our community – in a time when help is needed more than ever – without compromising safety? After much prayer and consideration, NEEDS volunteers were able to come up with a solution.

On March 24, the NEEDS pantry opened a drive-through service. Pantry coordinators Maureen and Janie had pre-packed bags of food and other dry goods, carefully sanitizing all work areas, and signs were posted outside Kenwood Baptist Church alerting clients to remain in their cars and call the desk rather than coming inside. As each call was taken, KBC volunteers placed bags in a designated pickup area, and clients were then instructed to get out and take their bags once the volunteers walked away. While protecting volunteers’ and clients’ safety, NEEDS was able to serve over a dozen appreciative families, including six new clients and totaling about 50 people.

NEEDS is so grateful for the ability to serve our community under extraordinary circumstances. Thank you to Kenwood Baptist Church for helping to make the pantry drive-through a success!

Amazon Smile – Help NEEDS by Shopping Online!

Most of us would like to do more to help our community – but sometimes it’s difficult to fit service into our busy schedules. Luckily, there are ways to give back without even leaving home! If you have an Amazon account, you can support NEEDS simply by shopping online. With just a few clicks, you can choose to send 0.5% of each purchase to NEEDS, helping to provide food and emergency services to needy families in the Cincinnati area.

To get started, open http://smile.amazon.com and log in with your Amazon account information. Next, use the search function to select NEEDS as the charity you would like to support.

Once you select NEEDS, Amazon will confirm your selection and show NEEDS at the top of your account page.

Each time you want to make an Amazon purchase, simply use http://smile.amazon.com instead of http://amazon.com. All of your usual Amazon settings, including Prime benefits, will continue to apply. As your purchases add up, your account header will show how much money you have generated to support NEEDS. Your 0.5% may not seem like much – but small amounts add up!

Current Pantry Needs

The NEEDS pantry has been very busy serving clients all winter – and some of our most useful items are running out! If you would like to help stock the pantry, please check out this list of much-needed items.

Food:
Tomato sauce
Beef stew
Canned potatoes
Canned greens
Canned sweet potatoes
Baked beans
Canned salmon
Vienna sausages
Rice mixes
Potato side dishes (mashed, au gratin, etc)
Hamburger Helper
Pasta sauce
Jelly/jam
Cereal
Dessert items

Personal:
Kleenex/tissues
Paper towels
Body wash
Conditioner

Pantry donations can be dropped off at Kenwood Baptist Church (8341 Kenwood Rd) Monday-Thursday from 9:00-4:00. NEEDS volunteers are on site every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00-1:00. Thank you!

Community Dental Day: March 6

According to the CDC, more than 30% of American adults aged 20-44 are living with untreated tooth decay. Over a third of American adults have not seen a dentist within the past year. As the 2000 Surgeon General’s Report indicates, oral health affects much more than our smiles – it’s a crucial component of overall wellbeing. Dental problems can painfully lower quality of life, and since many diseases are first detected through oral symptoms, routine oral exams are critical in maintaining good health. But for many in our community who lack insurance coverage and are short on cash, regular dental care is simply out of reach.

Fortunately, UC Blue Ash College is here to help! On March 6, UC dental hygiene students will partner with local dental professionals to offer free exams and essential services. We would love for all of our NEEDS clients to take advantage of this terrific opportunity.

Who: Adults (aged 18 and over) can participate in the clinic.
Where: UC Blue Ash College, Walters Hall (#4 Metro Bus Line, Plainfield Rd)
When: Friday, March 6 from 8:00-2:00. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Available services: Patients can choose one of the following free services – cleaning, filling, or extraction.

While the free community dental day is an annual event, UC Blue Ash College also offers low-cost preventive services to adults and children throughout the year.

For more information about UC Blue Ash Dental Hygiene Clinic and community dental day, call 513-936-1668 or visit https://www.ucblueash.edu/dentalday.

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