Finding Food For the Holidays

The holidays are stressful. Being recently out of confinement or spending the holiday season without a loved one can turn sharing food, gifts and company from overwhelming to impossible. Fortunately, community organizations like The Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati and The Foodbank in Dayton offer free holiday meals, safe environments, and other resource connections to people in need.


This year, The Freestore Foodbank will host its annual December Holiday Food Distribution program at their Over the Rhine Customer Connection Center (112 E Liberty St, Cincinnati, OH) from 8am to 6pm on December 19th and 20th. Their holiday boxes usually contain a turkey or chicken with various festive fixings like canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned pumpkin, stuffing or rice, onions, potatoes, apples, and macaroni and cheese. No registration is required to participate, but individuals will need ID and proof of residence to qualify for aid at these events.

In Dayton, The Foodbank will host drive-thru food pantries throughout the holiday season at their warehouse (56 Armor Place, Dayton, OH 45417) from 10am to 12pm on December 17th, 14th, and 21st . At the drive through pantry, volunteers will load up your vehicle or hands with similar seasonal offerings. Advocacy Director, Lora Davenport says you will only need ID to receive food through this program and to self declare “that you make at or below 200% of the poverty Guidelines”.

Beyond supplying food, The Freestore Foodbank and The Foodbank are also prepared to either refer to or directly assist with emergency shelter, application to SNAP (formerly known as “food stamps”), holiday present programs, adopt-a-family programs, housing/rent-assistance, transportation, clothes and bedding, job-training programs, and more.

If these Foodbank locations, times, or qualifying factors don’t work for you, many local partner agencies provide similar services and year-round. Whether you are in Cincinnati, Dayton, or anywhere in the United States, consider dialing 2-1-1 to get in touch with United Way, a philanthropic organization dedicated to connecting struggling people to the community resources they need. They can point you to the nearest free food access point or help you with various other information and services.

P.S.- United Way boasts tailored procedures and programs for individuals reentering society from correctional, narcotic recovery, and mental health facilities. Reintegrating individuals and those who have yet to be released can also call 2-1-1 for reentry-specific services such as arranging documentation, connecting with support groups, and finding counseling.


The Freestore Foodbank (Cincinnati) – (513) 241-1064

The Foodbank (Dayton) – (937) 461-0265

United Way (U.S.) – 2-1-1