As part of its annual Christmas Day preparations for the needy, the Freestore Foodbank distributed nearly 300,000 pounds of food, its largest amount ever for the holiday.
During the past three days, the emergency food provider distributed 297,050 pounds of food to 6,677 households. That's enough to feed 18,516 people, according to a spokeswoman.
The ongoing economic downturn and high unemployment rate are increasng the need for the Freestore's services. The numbers are the largest in the history of the agency's Christmas distribution and include group distributions and distribution through member agencies.
Freestore personnel said the 2010 holiday season, which includes the three days prior to Thanksgiving and three days prior to Christmas, surpassed 2009 as the busiest on record.
Overall, the agency distributed 696,710 pounds of food to 18,881 households, enough to feed 53,496 people.
The Freestore is the largest emergency food provider in the Tri-State area, serving a 20-county region in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. It solicits, collects, purchases and stores food from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and government agencies and distributes it to more than 325 nonprofit member agencies that provide free food to those in need.
The Freestore is a member of Feeding America — formerly America’s Second Harvest — the national network of food banks and food rescue programs. It is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
The agency's motto is, “We provide food and services, create stability, and further self-reliance for people in crisis.”