Assisting tens of thousands of low income families per month, the Freestore Foodbank provides a number of programs across over 10 Ohio counties and several others in Kentucky. They can offer free food, clothing, meals, and referrals to benefits such as low income housing as well as SNAP food stamps. The non-profit offers assistance across the area around Cincinnati, including the Ohio counties of Dearborn, Switzerland, Hamilton, Clermont, Brown, Clinton, Highland, Adams, Pike, and Scioto. Kentucky counties supported are Boone, Grant, Owen, Gallatin, Kenton, Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken, and Mason.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are part of the Giving Fields program from the Freestore Foodbank. This is available from a community farm in Melbourne, Kentucky, but it can serve other counties as well, such as Hamilton, Boone, and Kenton. Some of the produce that may be available includes tomatoes, blueberries, apples, broccoli, lettuce, kale, and onions.
Meals and food for children and students is offered as part of Power Pack. There will be bags of health food passed out so they have something to eat over the long weekend or even short term holidays. This will ensure the child has a meal since they will not be able to get one from school lunches or breakfasts.
Freestore Foodbank not only distributes groceries, but there is also more general health and hygiene items passed out. A key partner on this endeavor is the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. Aid ranges from shampoo, soap, toothpaste or some very limited and controlled over-the-counter medications. A focus is on helping residents in the greater Cincinnati area facing unemployment and there is also help for individuals living on fixed incomes.
Information and referrals are provided from the Customer Connection Center. Not only can families get access to food from the location, but they can also learn about other local non-profits and charities. Some of what is available include free bus tokens, money management classes, clothing, emergency rent and housing assistance, as well as homeless outreach services. All of these are limited and rely on partner groups of the Freestore Foodbank.
The Benefits Outreach team can offer advice and guidance to help people apply for government support, both federal or state resources. This may include Medicaid and SNAP Food Stamps or low income heating bill assistance. The Freestore staff also partner with other community agencies to determine who is in need of food assistance or affordable medical insurance, and staff will assist individuals them with the application process from start to finish.
Partner agencies in the service territory offer Homeless Prevention, and components of it include SSI Jobs, landlord mediation, Rapid Re-Housing, and other eviction prevention services. The details of this include placement into shelters and well as they help the homeless or disabled apply for SSI benefits. Other assistance ranges from job training to clinical exams as well as a focus on addressing mental health and substance abuse.
In addition to the homeless prevention above, the non-profits Housing Services work to provide stable, safe and affordable transitional and permanent housing solutions in counties including Brown, Gallatin, and many others. This is offered through emergency housing search, case management, and rental assistance from government grants.
Two components of it are HUD Subsidized Housing for the chronically homeless and other service known as Direct Rent, which is when non-profits in the region work with tenants and landlords to ensure timely rent payments, provides mediation, budgeting, and legal support.
The Protective Payee Department at Freestore Foodbank can help senior citizens or the disabled pay their bills and manage their income. Most of the clients to this service are Health Care for the Homeless Board or the Developmentally Disabled Services. There are also agencies in Kentucky that provide referrals. What this service can offer is noted below.
Assistance with banking and budgeting, which helps people with depositing funds, balancing their statements, and addressing other financial challenges. The Payees also offer Linkage and Referral to clients, which is the non-profit partnering with landlords and their creditors to resolve disputes. Another key resource is for crisis intervention.
Emergency aid is extensive. There may be free bus passes that are passed out as part of Everybody Rides Metro. Freestore may also help immigrants or low income families with obtaining birth certificate or Ids, and can provide a fan in the summer or maybe a heater during the winter months. A number of other assistance programs and referrals may also be provided by the organization.
Clothing is available. It is for people seeking work or going on an interview or for others as well, such as children who need a winter coat. Back on Track is one of the main services, and it may have professional work attire for those who need it.
The Freestore Foodbank, which focuses on a number of counties around the Cincinnati area, can be reached at (513) 241-1064. Call the agency for information.
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