February may be a short month, but it’s been packed with activity for NEEDS volunteers and donors!
Early in the month, Logan Symson of Amberley Village (pictured above) organized a food drive to support the NEEDS pantry. Despite rough weather, the drive was a success – and Logan hopes to organize additional drives in the future!
Later, NEEDS volunteers presented funds from the Student Assistance Drive to Maple Dale Elementary. School officials will use these funds to make sure students have warm winter clothing.
Of course, many of us will remember February 2022 as the month the Cincinnati Bengals made it to the Super Bowl. To our excitement, several local organizations – Twin Lakes Retirement Community, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Youth, and Madeira Silverwood Presbyterian Church – celebrated by holding “Souper Bowl” drives to benefit the NEEDS pantry. Though the Bengals fell short of a win, NEEDS was a winner this month!
Pantry coordinator Maureen recently shared this heartwarming story of teamwork in our community:
“Bill Ertle, of All Saints Church, holds a special place in the hearts of volunteers at the NEEDS food pantry. For several years now, he and his Chevy Tahoe have made the short trip from the parish to the pantry every week or two bearing gifts. By the time he arrives, he’s already made the rounds of four sites where church members drop off their pantry donations, and loaded them all — usually with the help of one of his kids.
A cheerful smile, a caring heart and a can-do attitude are just a few hallmarks of his big personality.
Bill has been working with Anne Marie Kaes, another volunteer at the parish, to involve more families in the work with NEEDS in hopes of increasing donations. Through SignUpGenius, families willing to transport parish donations to NEEDS can volunteer on a one-time or ongoing basis. The hope is that once families visit and tour the pantry they will become more enthusiastic supporters. Bill plans to accompany families on their first trips to help orient them to the process.
While the new team effort will really benefit the NEEDS pantry, we’ll miss seeing Bill on a regular basis!”
The NEEDS pantry welcomes donations of non-perishable foods, but we’re also thrilled when our partners help us to provide fresh food to our clients. Recently, a joint effort with St Vincent De Paul resulted in NEEDS’ being able to offer clients a supply of milk for their families. As pantry coordinator Maureen shares:
“The cost of milk by the gallon mounts up, especially when the NEEDS pantry needs 20 gallons on each day it is open. On rare occasions, milk is available through the Freestore Foodbank at no cost to food pantries. And we may receive a few gallons in a random donation. But receiving funding for milk on an ongoing basis was a real gift to NEEDS.
Mike Hathorn, president of the Saint Saviour Parish’s St. Vincent de Paul chapter and a long-time board member of NEEDS, facilitated that gift. While the chapter runs its own food pantry, the facility has no refrigeration. It gives its neighbors grocery vouchers for the local IGA supermarket. The store’s manager, in turn, gave the chapter with four $500 gift cards for use only on milk. But with no refrigerator in which to store the milk, Mike passed on one of the gift cards to the NEEDS pantry. And when we depleted the card amount, he gave us a second card!
‘When you use that one up,” Mike said, ‘just give me a call. I’ll probably still have the other two and will give you one.’
It’s a team effort to feed our neighbors in need. We’re grateful that Mike and NEEDS are on the same team!”
NEEDS volunteers and donors love to help clients take care of their families…including pets! Check out the note below from pantry coordinator Maureen:
“The NEEDS pantry applied and was recently accepted as one of the nonprofit groups to which PetPeople in Montgomery donates pet food and supplies. Store manager Kathleen Miller didn’t wait long before picking up the phone to let us know a good-sized donation was waiting.
The PetPeople company has a clear mission. ‘Equal parts neighborhood gathering place and smart retail store, PetPeople is all about helping dogs and cats thrive.’ As part of the company’s structure, each store gives back to its community by donating to pet-related charities.
Families frequenting the NEEDS food pantry struggle to feed themselves, and their beloved pets also need food and support. Each day the pantry is open, volunteers roll a cart of donated pet food, cat litter, pet supplements and toys out for families to choose from. With new support from PetPeople, that cart stands a much better chance of being stocked each week.
While donations of food and personal care items help us to meet clients’ most important needs, sometimes we’re excited by a more unusual donation.
Recently, Kroger’s Sid Cohen provided potted bamboo plants to the pantry, making it possible for each client to leave not only with food for their family, but with a cheerful plant to perk up their home. One NEEDS client couldn’t say enough about how excited she was to choose a plant: “I came here for food, and I get a plant, too? That’s a great start to my day!”
Interested in supporting NEEDS…and winning cash? The Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon’s Piggest Raffle Ever is the perfect opportunity!
Now through April 30, you can purchase raffle tickets for $5 each – with 100% of your donation going directly to NEEDS! On May 1, the Flying Pig will draw a winner of $5000 cash. The winner’s charity will also receive $5000! While everyone is welcome to celebrate Flying Pig race weekend, you do not need to be present in order to win.
Entering the raffle is easy! Just visit http://piggestraffleever.com/ and select NEEDS from the drop-down list of charities. Then choose your number of tickets and click “Adopt.”
NEEDS is so excited to participate in the Piggest Raffle Ever. Thank you for your support!
As many of us bundle up against this month’s winter storm (or stay cozy inside!), other families in our community struggle to afford much-needed winter clothing. Thanks to the generosity of our donors during the Student Assistance Drive, NEEDS was recently able to help! NEEDS volunteers delivered gift cards and funds to four local elementary schools – Stewart, Evendale, Sharonville, and Sycamore – so that school officials could help to provide underprivileged students with warm clothing for the winter.