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!
“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
3. Use your bank’s online payment service or Zelle. This costs you and NEEDS nothing, unlike Paypal which charges a fee (2.2% of each donation). Use this email: CincyNeedsTreasurer@gmail.com as the Recipient.
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!
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/.
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!
The NEEDS Pantry will be reopening on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 to provide emergency food assistance during this difficult time. We will not be providing financial assistance.
As before, we will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, serving each family every 60 days. UPDATE April 15, 2020: NEEDS is now serving clients every 30 days during the COVID-19 crisis, and possibly beyond (to be determined as the situation develops).
We serve residents in the following zip codes: 45236, 45241, 45242, 45243 and 45249.
When you arrive at NEEDS (8341 Kenwood Rd, Cincinnati at Kenwood Baptist Church), please remain in your car and follow posted signage.
You will be asked to call our desk at 891-0850 and provide:
whether you have been here before
your family size
car license plate number.
We will serve clients in order of their arrival, providing pre-packed bags with dry goods, meat and limited perishables.
As of today, Friday March 13, 2020, the NEEDS food pantry and emergency financial assistance program are closed.
Our church host, Kenwood Baptist Church, is following the State of Ohio’s direction and it is shut down. Church services and other programs are cancelled and closed until further notice due to the heath concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEEDS and Kenwood Baptist Church deeply regret that we can not assist our neighbors in northeast Cincinnati at this time when we are most needed.
Please check back on the website or Facebook page to see when NEEDS will be partially or fully operational.
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!