The Freestore Foodbank today began its annual distribution of Thanksgiving meals to needy families. The delivery of meals will continue through Wednesday afternoon.
Workers at the Freestore will deliver boxes to about 23,000 families throughout the Tristate region.
Each household will receive a box of food, a bag of produce, and either a chicken or turkey, depending on family size, according to the organization. Larger families receive larger boxes, but every family receives canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned cranberry or pumpkin, stuffing or rice, onions, potatoes, apples, macaroni and cheese, and brownie mix or another dessert.
The Freestore still is accepting donations of money or nonperishable food items, especially canned fruits and vegetables, cereals, tuna, canned chicken and soups. Donations may be made at the Customer Connection Center at 112 E. Liberty St., in Over-the-Rhine. Drive-up donations are accepted at the front bay from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Every dollar donated to the Freestore provides about four meals, a spokesperson said.
In recent years, the Freestore has seen the demand for its services increase due to the recession and high unemployment rate.
The Freestore was founded in 1971 by Frank Gerson, a worker at Cincinnati’s city dump who collected discarded items to help the needy. Since then, it has to become one of Ohio’s largest food banks. The Freestore provides food to about 450 pantries in a 20-county area in the Tristate, ranging from rural Indiana to Portsmouth, Ohio.
Facilities that receive the food include pantries operated by churches, battered women’s shelters and group homes.
Overall, the Freestore serves about 250,000 people each year, including roughly 110,000 in Hamilton County. About 40,000 people visit the Liberty Street facility for emergency food assistance annually.
The ambitious programs are possible due to the efforts of a staff of about 100 people, along with dedicated volunteers who offer 60,000 hours of help each year.
Funding is provided through a mix of federal grants, contributions from corporations and private foundations and from individual donations.
For more information, call 513-241-1064.