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 https://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 https://smile.amazon.com instead of https://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!
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.
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.
NEEDS volunteers are always eager to join forces with other organizations in order to serve our community. A wonderful recent example is NEEDS’ participation in Fill the Truck – an annual event sponsored by Frame USA that benefits more than half a dozen local charities.
This year, seven semi-trucks parked at shopping centers across the Cincinnati area to welcome donations for those in need. Each truck was soon filled with a variety of essential products, from food and toiletries to new blankets and warm winter clothing. Frame USA workers then organized and distributed the donations to each partner charity. NEEDS was especially grateful to receive canned food to stock the pantry shelves, as well as personal care items like paper towels, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products. Since toiletries are not covered by SNAP, they are often difficult for NEEDS clients to afford – and donations of these items are greatly appreciated. Thanks to the generosity of Fill the Truck contributors, NEEDS received so many donations that our volunteers were able to share with the Shelterhouse, an organization dedicated to supporting the homeless in Cincinnati.
It is so exciting for NEEDS to collaborate with other groups in helping our community. Thank you to all who participated!