Freestore Foodbank says more people in need this holiday season - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Freestore Foodbank says more people in need this holiday season

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

The Freestore Foodbank and its partners will be focused on filling the plates of people in need all over the Tri-State, and providing hope that will last long past this holiday season. That was the message Kurt Reiber, president of the Freestore Foodbank, shared during a recent press conference at the Hyde Park Kroger store.

According to Reiber, continuing economic circumstances have led to an increased demand for assistance from people all over the community – including people who've never needed help before, and a large number of children. "We know that there are many people in our neighborhoods missing meals, and struggling with joblessness, medical problems, and providing for their families," said Reiber. "This is unacceptable and we need our community to join us in creating the solution."

The statistics shared by Reiber during this morning's press conference included the following:

• Cincinnati was recently found to have the third highest concentration of childhood poverty in the nation.

• Around 297,000 residents in Greater Cincinnati are food insecure, meaning they aren't sure where they will get their next meal. Of these food insecure residents, 1/3 are children.

• In the 2011 fiscal year, the Freestore Foodbank distributed more than 16 million meals to people in need throughout 20 counties in the Tri-State, including residents in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.

• During holiday distribution days before Thanksgiving and again in December, the Freestore Foodbank expects to distribute the makings of holiday meals to over 23,000 families.

The press conference was held to officially kick off the Freestore Foodbank's annual holiday fundraising campaign. Themed Fill a Plate, the campaign runs through January 31 and has a goal of raising $2.3 million.

Reiber offered several suggestions to Tri-State residents who would like to get involved. "Over the next two months, many area businesses will work with the Freestore Foodbank to help raise hunger awareness in the Tri-State," he said. "Two great Cincinnati companies, Kroger and LaRosa's, have again partnered with us this year in our fundraising efforts, along with many others. We hope the Greater Cincinnati community will join with us, and find their own way to participate and give back."

Individuals who are interested in learning more about the Freestore Foodbank's Fill a Plate fundraising campaign should visit www.FreestoreFoodbank.org. From donating online to eating macaroni and cheese at Keystone to "liking" T.G.I. Friday's on Facebook, there are ways for anyone and everyone in the community to get involved in helping the Freestore Foodbank end hunger in our community and move our neighbors in need to stability and self-reliance.

Those interested in donating gifts of food, clothing and cash may do so during holiday business hours (8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 11/21, 11/22, 11/23, 12/21, 12/22,12/23) at the Freestore Foodbank's Customer Connection Center, located at 112 East Liberty Street in Over-the-Rhine. The Freestore Foodbank also accepts donations via phone at (513) 482-FOOD (3663) and online via its Web site and virtual food drive. Anyone interested in volunteering during the Freestore Foodbank annual holiday food box distributions in November and December should visit http://www.freestorefoodbank.org/wordpress/2011/10/holiday-operations/.

The Freestore Foodbank is the largest emergency food and services provider in the Tri-State. The organization is a trusted partner to over 350 nonprofit member agencies spread across 20 counties, through which it will distributes over 18 million pounds of food and other products this year to more than 300,000 individuals. By providing emergency food distribution, the Freestore Foodbank works to determine the root causes of poverty and food insecurity and is able to provide an array of services (emergency clothing, housing services, Food Stamps assistance, Medicaid outreach and others) aimed at creating self-reliance. The Freestore Foodbank is a member of Feeding America. Visit www.freestorefoodbank.org for more information.

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