Frequently Asked Questions

What does OASHF do?

  • Distributes tens of millions of pounds of food and other grocery items each year through our network to the people in Ohio who need it most.

  • Create and implement programs with public and private partners that provide resources for people who find themselves in emergency situations as well as individuals and families who experience longer term food insecurity.

  • Advocate for funding and support of hunger-related initiatives to secure the resources required to meet the nutritional needs of every hungry child, adult and senior citizen in Ohio.


Who does the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks Serve?

  • In any given week, 207,700 different Ohioans receive emergency food assistance.

  • 35% of those being served are children under the age of 18, with one out of 10 children served age 5 or under.

  • 9% of those served are seniors, many of whom live on fixed incomes and cannot afford fluctuations in basic necessities such as utilities and prescription drugs.

  • One-third of households served include at least one employed adult.

  • 78% of households served by the emergency food programs in Ohio are classified as “food insecure.”

  • One-half indicate choosing choose between paying for food or paying for heating/utilities.

  • One-third indicate choosing choose between paying for food or paying rent/mortgage.

How is the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks Funded?

  • OASHF’s food programs are funded by a grant from the Ohio General Assembly through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (contract manager) every two years through the state’s biennial budget process as well as by private and corporate donations.

  • OASHF’s other programs are funded through a combination of grants and donations from foundations, corporations, partnerships with Ohio’s government, and through donations from local individuals and their families.


Where does the food the Association distributes come from?

  • OASHF’s funding is used to purchase food through the Ohio Food Purchase and Agricultural Clearance Program. This gives OASHF more flexibility in funding, allowing the Association to better meet the needs of the regional foodbanks and their agencies to supplement and enhance their food supplies. The program enhances the regional foodbanks’ local food purchase programs, the donated food items received, the USDA’s The Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

  • The Ohio Food Purchase Program is, at its core, a purchasing program. It receives bids, awards contracts and distributes food to foodbanks for distribution to emergency food providers.

  • The Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program works with Ohio’s agricultural community and commodity groups to provide foodbanks with surplus and unmarketable agricultural products at production cost.


What is a "regional foodbank?"

A regional foodbank serves as the central agency for the local emergency food assistance network. It serves as a facility for storing and distributing large quantities of food (obtained from donations, federal food assistance programs or associations like OASHF), an advocating agency, a center for fundraising and information disbursement, as well as providing other services to help clients accessing the local level. Because the foodbank is able to store and distribute such large amounts food can be obtained in greater quantities and/or purchased at lower prices. This food is offered to local emergency food providers at minimal or no fee. Many A few foodbanks also offer other social services. Get a closer look at your local Ohio foodbank.


What is an" emergency food provider?"

An emergency food provider does just that provides food to those in need. This network is comprised of food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and congregate feeders.

    • A food pantry distributes food directly to consumers of the emergency food assistance system. Food pantries receive their food from local donations, regional foodbanks and private funding. Food pantries can take many forms. For more information on the Choice Pantry System. For information on how to start a food pantry, contact your local foodbank or click here.

    • Shelters house people in need. They vary from those who serve the homeless to those who help abused women and their children.

    • Soup Kitchens or Meal Sites are a location anyone can go for a free or low cost meal during the day. These can be located anywhere.

    • Congregate or Residential Feeders refer to meal sites designated to serve a specific population .i.e. a soup kitchen at a Senior Center which serves only lunch.


What is the Ohio Benefit Bank?

The Ohio Benefit Bank is a web-based, counselor-assisted application completion program that helps low-and moderate-income individuals and families file for state and federal tax credits and benefits

    The Ohio Benefit Bank provides free counselor-assisted help for:

      • State Income Tax Preparation
      • Federal Income Tax Preparation
      • Electronic Tax Filing
      • Fast Income Tax Refunds
      • Earned Income Tax Credits
      • Child Care Tax Credits
      • Child Care Subsidies
      • Children’s Health Insurance
      • Home Energy Assistance
      • Food Stamps
      • Medicaid Health Insurance
      • And More!


What does that mean? Foodbanking acronyms


How can I help?

  • Make a donation. Every dollar you donate provides five meals to hungry Ohioans. All monetary donations are tax deductible.You can donate now through Network for Good.

  • Coordinate regular food drives. Encourage your peers at work, school, your church or in your neighborhood to donate non-perishable items and canned goods. Also consider canned goods as part of admission to local events you may be planning.

  • Volunteer. Serve others at a soup kitchen or pantry, or help sort food at your local foodbank.