Ohio Association of Foodbanks is Ohio's largest charitable response to hunger, representing Ohio's 12 Feeding America foodbanks and 3,700 hunger relief agencies.
We Procure Food
Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks serve millions of Ohioans in all 88 counties across the state in partnership with 3,600 hunger relief organizations. To do so, Ohio’s foodbanks rely on donated food and charitable dollars to privately purchase additional food. They also rely on federal commodity programs like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). Yet, even with these tens of millions of pounds of food, the statewide hunger relief network recognized more than two decades ago that they needed more help to prevent local individuals and families from going without the healthy, balanced meals they need and deserve.
The Ohio Association of Foodbanks was incorporated in 1991 in a collaborative effort by Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks to stretch limited dollars through consolidated food purchasing. Since then, we’ve led a statewide effort to buy center-of-the-plate, shelf-stable foods, protein items, and Ohio-grown agricultural products through the Ohio Food Program and Agricultural Clearance Program. You can learn more about these signature programs, as well as the innovative child nutrition programs we’ve operated in partnership with the State of Ohio since 2012.
Thanks to the longstanding, bipartisan support from Ohio’s elected officials and the partnership of Ohio’s agricultural community, we proudly provide Ohio’s foodbanks with roughly 25% of all of the food they distribute. It’s some of the most wholesome and nutritious food available to Ohio families struggling with food insecurity, and it’s at the heart of what we do.
We Provide Resources
We know that hunger doesn’t happen in a silo, and that making sure food is on the table today is just one short-term step in moving toward long-term solutions for household and community stability. The Ohio Association of Foodbanks can’t be everything for every person we serve or every hunger or poverty relief organization we support, but we are focused on a few key areas to provide more resources to people in need and the nonprofits and agencies that serve them.
National Service Program
Since 2006, we have partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service to deploy AmeriCorps VISTA members and AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates throughout Ohio. These national service members work to build the capacity of Ohio’s charitable hunger and poverty relief network. Hundreds of passionate individuals have joined our national service family, and we have more opportunities to place outstanding candidates in service to this mission.
When policy changes implemented in the aftermath of the Great Recession meant some vulnerable Ohioans could lose access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks began partnering with the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services to operate a Work Experience Program (WEP). Our WEP team works to keep individuals seeking paid employment connected with SNAP as well as opportunities to build their skills and improve their employability.
Training and Technical Assistance
We also seek out opportunities to bolster Ohio’s charitable hunger relief network through funding, training, and technical assistance. Most recently, thanks to the support of funders like the State of Ohio and UnitedHealthcare, we have leveraged more than $1.5 million to support the purchase of refrigerators, freezers, trucks, food storage and food handling equipment, and more.
We Promote Equity
The scourge of hunger is a symptom of several systemic, interrelated problems: generational and situational poverty, wage inequity and income disparity, housing insecurity, racial injustice, and socioeconomic inequality, to name a few. We are committed to addressing the immediate threat of hunger in the most efficient, effective ways we can, while remaining focused on promoting progress toward more permanent, policy-based solutions to these larger issues.
We work to make it easier for people in need to get help from the safety net programs that already exist, especially SNAP. We advocate for the protection and expansion of proven anti-hunger and anti-poverty policies and programs (and you can join us by signing up for our advocacy alerts). We serve as a voice and a resource to elevate the needs, challenges, and opportunities of the food insecure Ohioans we serve.
Over the years, we’ve provided testimony before countless state and federal committees at the Statehouse and the Capitol and partnered with Advocates for Ohio’s Future to link arms with other health and human service advocates. We’ll continue to prioritize proven, policy-driven solutions for Ohioans struggling with food insecurity and its root causes.