The National Guard Helps the Freestore Foodbank Feed Thousands

Getting food to people in need during a pandemic—when there are more people looking for support—takes a heroic effort.

Photograph courtesy of Freestore Foodbank

When the Freestore Foodbank could no longer accept help from its 13,000 regular volunteers in March, it called in the Ohio National Guard to pack and distribute boxes of food to the thousands who packed church parking lots at community distribution events. The Freestore even temporarily suspended its ID and proof-of-residency requirements to accommodate the influx of people, 75 percent of whom, the organization estimates, are first-time food pantry patrons. “We always believe that if you’re coming to a food event or you’re standing in a food line, you do not choose to do that,” says Trisha Rayner, the Freestore Foodbank’s vice president of external affairs. With food drives postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19, the Freestore is asking for monetary donations through its website. Just $1, Rayner says, can provide three meals to someone in need.

Freestore Foodbank, 1141 Central Parkway, West End, (513) 482-3663

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