CINCINNATI -- On the first day of its Christmas food distribution Wednesday, the Freestore Foodbank provided meals to 5,999 hungry Cincinnatians in need, and they'll continue Thursday.
Households receive a turkey or chicken for a holiday feast from the food bank's customer connection center at 112 E. Liberty St. in Over-the-Rhine. The Freestore Foodbank will also provide each household with a bag of produce and a holiday box containing canned vegetables, cranberry or pumpkin, stuffing or rice, onions, potatoes, apples, and macaroni and cheese.
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Meal pickup lasts from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
"This is a thrilling time for us because we not only get to see our customers that need our services, but we see our donors; we see our volunteers," said Kurt Reiber, CEO of the Freestore Foodbank. "Over Thanksgiving we saw 1,200 volunteers come in and help our outstanding team that helps everyone on the front lines of hunger. This is sort of our Super Bowl of feeding. The need is great, but the community is so caring … this is just a way for us to give back to our neighbors in need this day."
Reiber said 94 percent of donations that come into Freestore Foodbank go back into client services and suggested that anybody wishing to help should visit their website here to find volunteer activities that go on beyond the holiday season.
Over in the West End, St. Vincent de Paul volunteers and staff will provide 1,000 meals complete with a Christmas ham at the organization's annual food distribution on Thursday. Some families lined up as early as 11:30 p.m. Wednesday for the distribution beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday. A photo I.D. is required, and they limit one per family.
Anonymous donors and food drives at St. Xavier High School, St. Rose Church and St. Peter in Chains Cathedral helped those in need receive a supply of food this holiday season.
To make a donation or host a drive, visit SVDPcincinnati.org, call 513-421-HOPE (4673) or visit your neighborhood Kroger store and look for the food donation barrels.