Pantry coordinator Maureen shared this story of a high school student’s hard work and commitment to NEEDS:
“Logan Symson first contacted NEEDS in January 2022, asking if she could launch a monthly Foodshare program in her Amberley neighborhood to benefit the NEEDS pantry. She was a high school junior looking for a way to serve her neighbors in need. Her program started small, but has grown into a strong and steady support for the pantry.
At first, Logan relied on her neighbors to decide what to contribute. But her marketing grew more savvy and she soon asked each month for a list of our most needed items. As her junior year moved into her senior year, she involved her sister Hannah in her efforts — ensuring that when she herself left for college her efforts to support NEEDS would not end.
Logan really knocked it out of the park with her December 2023 delivery, which included so many of the things the pantry needed most. While her Foodshare program is an ongoing support, Logan is living proof to all of our NEEDS volunteers that members of the younger generation are willing and able to continue our own efforts. Thank you, Logan!”
NEEDS’ pantry coordinators shared this note to Becky Lockwood and her women’s group at Kenwood Baptist Church, who gave a thoughtful Christmas gift to NEEDS:
“On behalf of everyone here at North East Emergency Distribution Services (NEEDS), we’d like to thank you for your Bible study group’s surprise donation of diapers and paper goods. It was really touching to learn that members decided to give to NEEDS rather than one another at their holiday meeting.
Our pantry flies through our supply of toilet paper and paper towels, as nearly every family receives both. We never seem to have enough! And diapers are most appreciated as they are expensive for us to purchase on our own but essential to many families that we serve.
Again, our thanks and our best wishes to you all for a blessed and happy holiday season!”
NEEDS’ pantry coordinators shared their excitement for Fill The Truck 2023:
“Once again, NEEDS will be a beneficiary of Frame USA’s annual Fill The Truck charitable initiative — its largest charitable effort and one of the biggest drives for NEEDS each year.
What is Fill The Truck? In December 2010, Frame USA’s CEO, Dan Regenold, had a vision: to fill an entire 53-foot semi for a local charity. He knew this would be his biggest charitable project and he would need a team to assist him. He built a team of packers, donation collectors, marketing professionals, and more to help coordinate this massive event in under 30 days. By the end of December that year, Frame USA ended up needing a second truck because they over-filled their semi by 7%.
The truck didn’t stop there. To Dan, the truck represented hope, life, and a second chance for people within his community who were down on their luck. In the last 13 years, Fill The Truck has grown to collect over 50,000 items at multiple locations throughout greater Cincinnati. It also accepts cash donations. This year, it has partnered with 12 different businesses and corporate partners to benefit seven local charities — AND NEEDS IS ONE OF THEM!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Frame USA, for your Fill The Truck initiative. Your efforts support ours in meeting the emergency needs of our neighbors.”
NEEDS was founded over 40 years ago by the late Marysue Dickmann of Blue Ash Presbyterian Church. Since then, NEEDS has provided food and emergency financial assistance to thousands of families – a wonderful legacy!
Blue Ash Presbyterian Church recently merged with Montgomery Presbyterian Church to form Evergreen Presbyterian Church. As Blue Ash PC prepared to sell their building, they gave careful thought and prayer to how they could best use the proceeds to support their mission partners, including NEEDS. This month, they surprised NEEDS with an incredibly generous check that will enable us to meet the needs of our neighbors at a time when many families are truly struggling.
Several years ago, Marysue shared the story of how NEEDS came to be:
“It started out of my garage as a Christmas sharing of outgrown toys and clothing, mostly from our own three kids. Little by little neighbors heard about it and wanted to participate. At the time, I was the director of First Step Nursery School, and there were lots of children who had very little that were in the program. My position as director gave me access to needs of the community. When I couldn’t do it alone, I asked our church to help, and they often did.
The single incident that got me to find a better way was when a young teenaged girl who had a baby was thrown out of her house. She was too young to receive WIC (a government-sponsored program for women, infants, and children). I was appalled and could see no reason why anyone living in our community of plenty could not have their basic needs met. At the same time, I knew our church could not handle all of this alone.
At that time there was a ministerial association of ministers from the Northeast area. Don Leckrone, our pastor, was able to introduce me to the member ministers of the group. He was most supportive of me and my efforts. I tried to point out the advantages to the area ministers of one group handling the people asking churches for assistance, thereby eliminating duplicate services. Each group would contribute to the pantry with volunteers and donations. From my garage we moved the food into a neighbor’s empty basement until their home was sold. Next the City of Blue Ash gave us a cupboard to work out of. For awhile we were housed in the Hazelwood Civic Center. We would meet clients at the pantry and would serve on call. As we grew, that was no longer possible, and Kenwood Baptist Church offered us space to receive calls, meet clients, keep records, and distribute food.”
NEEDS would not exist without the generosity of our member organizations, donors, and volunteers. We are so grateful for this gift from Blue Ash Presbyterian Church and for their decades of commitment to NEEDS!
NEEDS is seeking a new volunteer treasurer. This is a fulfilling and vital role in helping NEEDS to feed and assist our neighbors in northeast Cincinnati – all done at home and on your schedule!
The Treasurer’s main duties are to prepare and present financial reports at our monthly board meeting and reconcile the bank accounts. Approximate time commitment is 2-4 hours a week and monthly board meetings. NEEDS has assistant treasurer volunteers who record donations and pay expenses. NEEDS has no employees, so there are no payroll responsibilities. Accounting or bookkeeping experience desired. QuickBooks experience very helpful.
Our current Treasurer will complete her term on December 31, 2023 and the bylaws dictate that a new Treasurer be found. She has agreed to help the new Treasurer with the transition.
For information on this volunteer position, contact our current treasurer, Carol Topp, at 513-777-8342 or CarolToppCPA@zoomtown.com.
Each year, NEEDS looks forward to the St. Xavier High School food drive, which helps to replenish the pantry shelves for the busy holiday season. This year’s drive was so successful that our pantry coordinators said it took an army of volunteers to put everything away!
They shared this letter to the families and faculty who participated in the drive:
“Thank you AGAIN for another successful food drive! We are honored each year to be one of the beneficiaries of this outstanding event. It was so impressive to see the enthusiasm and involvement of all the students as they filled our truck with load after load of food.
As grocery prices remain high, families are struggling. This year the NEEDS pantry will serve 2000 families, which is double the number we served two years ago. It is challenging to keep up with the demand.
This is one of the biggest donations we receive. Please thank all the students, their parents and your staff who work so hard to make this a success. It’s great to see these young men involved in community service. It instills a giving spirit that carries on, as evidenced by St. X alum Tom Young ’57 who helps pick up and deliver the goods to our pantry every year.
Please know that you are truly making a difference in the lives of many of our neighbors. The NEEDS volunteers and the families we serve thank you.”
Our pantry coordinators shared this note to the families and faculty of Indian Hill High School:
“Thank you so much for collecting food for the NEEDS pantry. You did a great job of donating the items we needed the most – especially all the paper goods! We’d like to thank Michelle Shafer for coordinating the effort.
As grocery prices remain high, families are struggling. This year the NEEDS pantry will serve 2000 families, which is double the number we served two years ago! We are being challenged to keep up with the demand. We rely on donations from schools, churches and businesses to meet the need. Please know that the food you collected will benefit our less fortunate neighbors in the community where you live.
The NEEDS volunteers and the families we serve thank you! We look forward to continuing our partnership next year.”
Even with a Thanksgiving closure, NEEDS served nearly as many families in November as in the previous month. More than 20 of these families were seeking assistance from NEEDS for the first time.
Here are the latest numbers:
During the month of November, the NEEDS pantry provided food to 203 families – for a total of 692 people!
NEEDS also provided emergency financial assistance to 16 families, distributing $5181.00 to cover rent and utilities.
Pantry coordinators Maureen and Janie shared this story of holiday generosity from a local middle school:
“The NEEDS pantry volunteers were in the midst of their pre-Thanksgiving rush — filling orders and quickly depleting shelves — in an effort to help our less fortunate neighbors have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Quite out of the blue, one of the teachers at Linden Grove Middle School pulled through our drive-through in a vehicle filled with all the holiday trimmings.
How did that happen? In tried and true teacher fashion, faculty at the school made their drive for NEEDS a competition among students.
Students and their families responded by giving the pantry the perfect holiday items for the families we serve. Thank you so much, Linden Grove Middle School!”
Many families who come to NEEDS for assistance live in the Silverton area. Our pantry coordinators were thrilled to receive a surprise donation from Silverton Cafe, a local business eager to help their neighbors in need! Maureen and Janie shared this letter to Silverton Cafe’s Nick Heidelberg:
“On behalf of everyone here at North East Distribution Services (NEEDS), we’d like to thank you for your surprise — and very generous — donation to our food pantry. The many items you donated will be a big help in meeting the food emergency needs of our less fortunate neighbors this holiday season.
It was interesting to learn that you are a friend of St. Vincent Ferrer School’s principal. As you probably know, both the school and the parish have been big supporters of NEEDS. And you’re even an alum yourself! Growing up in this area, and now running a business here as well, we’re sure that you are aware of the rising numbers of those facing food insecurity here. The 45236 zip code is by far the busiest of our service areas.
Again, our thanks for your generosity and all our best to you for a blessed and happy holiday season!”