Coronavirus Outbreak

The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted and will continue to impact all of our lives in many ways. We know that many companies and individuals are interested in helping Ohio's foodbanks, and that many other individuals will experience serious and difficult financial struggles in the weeks to come.

Opportunities to Help the Helpers

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks represents Ohio's 12 Feeding America foodbanks, who serve all 88 counties in Ohio. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, our network served an average of 25,000 people every day. In the days and weeks to come, we will serve many more thousands of people, and we will need to do so through different means of distribution. This presents unique challenges and needs for our network, and we urge your support, if you are able to offer it. View opportunities to give help..

Resources for Ohioans Impacted by COVID-19

These are unprecedented times, and we stand in solidarity with Governor DeWine as he takes the extraordinary steps necessary to protect public health during this outbreak. But we recognize how many hundreds of thousands of households will be unable to put food on the table, afford their bills, and weather this crisis as it leads to job losses and closures throughout many sectors. Additionally, we know children throughout the state will not have access to school meals through traditional means. We urge Ohioans to not hesitate to seek the help they need in this uncertain and difficult time. View ways you can access help.

Ohio National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve Response

The Ohio National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve have deployed more than 400 members to help our foodbanks continue to feed families in need. With many of our elderly volunteers sheltering in place, our local food pantries and soup kitchens closing their doors, and more need than ever in our communities, we are grateful for the support Guard members will provide to help us keep safely procuring and distributing food to the many Ohioans who need help now. For more information, please view this video from Major General John C. Harris Jr. and read our press release about this critical support in English or en Español.

OPPORTUNITIES TO GIVE HELP | We deeply appreciate your generosity in this time and will ensure your resources go where the highest, most immediate need for help with food exists, in partnership with our statewide network. Please read our report, Rising to the Challenge: Preventing Hunger in Ohio Before, During, and After the COVID-19 Pandemic, to learn more about the unique challenges we are facing and the needs we have for public and private support. View this detailed, two-page summary of our request for $25 million in emergency funding from the State of Ohio to meet immediate and unprecedented demand for help.

  • Individual Donations: We strongly encourage individuals to make cash donations, rather than donations of food or other items, to minimize the burden on local retailers and grocers and to minimize the need for person-to-person contact as our warehouses accept deliveries. To make a cash donation, please visit our donation page or donate directly to your local foodbank by navigating to their website from this page.
  • Corporate Support: If your company is able to offer needed supplies, including shelf-stable food, personal care/personal hygiene/household cleaning items, food service supplies such as "to-go" meal containers, disposable silverware, or sturdy bags, or other packaging items like cardboard boxes, please contact Jessica Renwick by email at jrenwick@ohiofoodbanks.org with information about your offer, including the quantity you have available.
  • Volunteer Resources: If you are an individual or group of individuals who are at low-risk for serious illness from a COVID-19 infection, and you are able to assist in volunteering in safe, clean settings in foodbank warehouses, please use this directory to reach out to your local foodbank's volunteer department. We ask that only individuals free of symptoms, without known exposure to the COVID-19 virus, and without known underlying conditions that would put them at higher risk, respond to this call for volunteer support. Please note, some foodbanks are respectfully asking volunteers to stand down at this time to protect their personal health and safety.
  • Other Support: Is there something you're able to offer that we haven't thought of? Please reach out to Joree Novotny by email at jnovotny@ohiofoodbanks.org with your information and offer.

HOW TO GET HELP  | We know this unprecedented situation is causing mass layoffs, lost wages, lost school meals, and significant financial pain for millions of Ohioans. Here are resources to help get the help you need:

  • Help with Food from Foodbanks: Each of our 12 member foodbanks are working to adjust as this situation unfolds to meet demand for their help however they are able. Our traditional partners in that work - 3,600 food pantries, shelters, and other meal programs - may have decreased ability to assist in distributing food. We have also shifted to limiting person-to-person contact through "no-touch" distributions, to reduce large numbers of people congregating in lines or waiting rooms. Click to lookup the best way in your county to locate emergency food assistance from our network.
  • Help with Food from SNAP: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, is designed to act quickly to help families and individuals facing food budget shortfalls. If you've experienced a job loss or lost wages, apply for SNAP online at benefits.ohio.gov or over the phone at 1-844-640-6446 through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Here's more information about SNAP for displaced workers in Ohio.
  • Help with Lost School Meals from Local Districts: With more than 600 school districts, availability of non-congregate school meals will vary from place to place. The Ohio Department of Education has made a map available of participating meal sites where students can access food during the school closure. You can also text FOOD to 877877 to find a feeding site near you.
  • Applying for Unemployment Benefits: By Executive Order, Governor DeWine announced changes and flexibility to Ohio's Unemployment Insurance Program to provide support to impacted workers during this crisis. Learn more and apply for Unemployment Benefits at this website or by calling 1-877-644-6562, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

If you are a member of the media seeking information or willing to help get the word out about these opportunities to help and resources for those in need, please contact Lisa Hamler-Fugitt by email at lisa@ohiofoodbanks.org or by phone at 614-271-4803.