Freestore Foodbank more than doubled its yearly food spending to keep up with pandemic needs

Posted at 5:42 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 17:42:16-04

CINCINNATI — Freestore Foodbank bought more food — a lot more food — as the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools and businesses throughout March and early April.

By Wednesday afternoon, when CEO Kurt Reiber addressed the public at a city of Cincinnati news conference, the nonprofit had shelled out $3 million to keep up with rising demand from people whose livelihoods had become pandemic casualties.

That’s 30 times what the foodbank normally spends on food each month, he said. More than twice what it spends in a year.

It might last until August.

“The demand is ever-increasing,” he said. “The supplies are continuing to be stretched from everybody throughout the country.”

With normal donations and volunteering impossible due to social distancing and safety guidelines, Reiber encouraged Cincinnatians to donate money online. Doing so will also enable Freestore Foodbank to buy non-food items that its clients need, such as hygiene and cleaning products.

“We are blessed with a very caring community,” Reiber said.

Freestore Foodbank is the largest emergency food provider in the 20 Tri-State counties it serves, according to its website, and distributes 33 million meals each year.