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Foodbank needs are up; here's how you can help

Posted at 6:58 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 20:45:08-05

CINCINNATI — Foodbanks are in higher demand this year compared to previous Thanksgivings.

The number of people coming to the Freestore Foodbank is up 63% since March. The organization expects that to carry over into Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Audrey Spruel, a Freestore Foodbank customer, said she is happy to wait in line. Even if the line on Liberty Street wraps around the corner.

“They’re helping out with what they can. It’s a good program. All of us need a little help every now and then,” she said.

Ms. Netta is another Freestore Foodbank customer. She said the foodbank is a blessing right now.

“It’s actually a blessing that these pantries are serving us due to the COVID and everything else that’s going on,” Netta said.

Freestore Foodbank president and CEO Kurt Reiber said this year the foodbank is spreading out its pickup times and days to prevent too many people gathering at once during pickup.

“We went from distributing 400,000 to 500,000 pounds of food to where we’re now distributing over 1 million pounds of food every week,” Reiber said.

Not only is the number of people needing food on the rise, Reiber said, they are seeing a record number of first-timers lining up due to the pandemic.

“75% of all the families that come to our large-scale food distributions have never set foot in one of our pantries,” Reiber said.

St. Vincent De Paul in Cincinnati is reporting a 20% increase in people needing help this year.

Sunnie Johnson-Lain, director of services at St. Vincent De Paul, said the organization will not have its traditional Thanksgiving celebration.

“We tried to find a creative way to meet the need and we will be partnering with the museum center. We will be doing a drive-thru model for services,” Johnson-Lain said.

The Cincinnati Museum Center will host their drive-thru Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Anyone from Hamilton county is eligible to receive food assistance. Just bring an ID for someone in your household.

Freestore Foodbank and St. Vincent De Paul are both accepting donations to meet the growing need.