Food giveaway helps many families who never struggled to make ends meet before COVID-19

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 18, 2020

CINCINNATI — Many area families who never struggled to make ends meet are reaching out for help because of COVID-19.

Volunteers at St. Xavier High School helped by giving out free groceries Thursday.

"People are so grateful with their words, with their actions. Some sharing tears, some saying, “I never had to do this before,” said April Hoak of Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio, who organized the food giveaway.

"This is ultimately to feed families, but that isn't the only reason,” said Hoak, Food for All Coordinator. “There's farmers that were, you know, having to get rid of food because restaurants weren't taking it."

Hoak said farmers are giving excess food to the Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati instead of throwing it away. As a result, people who lost their jobs during the pandemic can spend grocery money on other needs.

The impact has been “far reaching,” Hoak said. She usually takes a couple hundred food boxes to rural areas each week, but Thursday she had a thousand boxes for Cincinnati.

She asked St. Xavier to help with the drive-thru. Alex Vanpee was one of the students who responded.

"I work at a grocery store, so I've seen grocery prices go up, and even the people who didn't need help before are starting to seek help from food pantries and shelters,” said Vanpee. “So, it really can happen to anybody, and it opens my eyes."

Vanpee said 80% of his St. X classmates volunteer and go on mission trips in the summer, but the pandemic canceled most of them.

If you or someone you know needs help or wants to donate or volunteer, you can call Catholic Charities at (513) 241-7745 or go to their website.

Here are other ways to contact them.