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Star volunteer at CPS meal sites keeps students fed during pandemic

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Posted at 7:49 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 20:47:54-04

CINCINNATI — Bags filled with food and necessities become lifelines for the Cincinnati students that volunteer Allie Goodman serves. She fills each one with shelf-stable items like mac and cheese, granola, tuna, ravioli, chicken noodle soup.

Then, she takes bags and other necessities up to the families who drive up to Woodford Academy in Kennedy Heights, one of the 23 Cincinnati Public Schools sites working to keep children fed over the summer and amid the pandemic.

Mother Erin Marksberry says stopping at Woodford helps her family, down now to one income.

“I was working through most of it … At the end of May, I resigned because my childcare was unable to be provided anymore,” Marksberry said.

The bags Goodman packs and distributes are a bonus for those drive ups as part of the "Collaborate and Care Campaign” started by folks within CPS to support families using community donations.

As a parent teacher organization and athletic boosters president at another school, Goodman got a call to join the effort.

“Any little bit was more than nothing. So what did a little bit turn into...kind of a lot...(laugh)."

For a while she kept donations that came into her living room before the effort moved to the school, where she teamed up with James Lacey, Woodford’s community resource coordinator.

“I can't even put into words how much she's helped me out here,” he said. “It's been great.”

Lacey said she cultivates donations and has even given money from her own pocket.

“I didn't know if buying groceries for myself was how I wanted to spend that money, so buying groceries that I can pass out here felt like the right thing to do with that money,” Goodman said.

You see her at Woodford every Monday and Friday for hours, prompting this from CPS:

“We have a volunteer who has been assisting us since the beginning through rain, sleet, snow, and now hot temperatures,” the compliment read.

Goodman is part of the Collaborate and Care Campaign, which has received $50,000 in donations from the likes of Cincinnati Bell, the Reds Community Fund and Duke Energy.

If you'd like to make a donation to help that campaign to help CPS families, contact Asia Bradford, School Community Coordinator with CPS' Athletic Department, to coordinate collection of donated goods, or mail a check to:

Cincinnati Public Schools
Attn: Collaborate & Care
P.O Box 5381
Cincinnati, OH 45201-5381