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Lower Price Hill Community School set to expand community outreach

In the coming months, the Lower Price Hill Community School will undergo a name change as it expands services to focus its efforts on education and improving the community through two nonprofits: Education Matters and Community Matters.
 
“But the Lower Price Hill Community School is not going away,” says Mike Moroski, LPHCS director of outreach services. “The administration’s staying the same. We’re not only going to be providing the same services we always have—we’re going to provide them on a larger scale—plus offer new services to the community.”
 
Moroski will transition into the role of director for Community Matters, which he says will function as a safe haven for residents, while offering access to more community events and opportunities.
 
“One of the things I’ve always been attracted to about LPHCS is they’re not interested in coming into the community and saying, ‘Here’s what you need to be better,’” Moroski says. “They’re interested in finding out what the community wants and then providing it.”
 
Lower Price Hill, for example, has no laundromat; so the nonprofit is working with Xavier University to launch one through the Washing Well project, which will eventually be turned over to the neighborhood as a co-op.
 
A business plan is currently in the works, and Moroski says the long-term vision is to work with Xavier University professors to offer a business incubator course, which would be open to anyone—Lower Price Hill resident or not—who would eventually like to open a new space in Lower Price Hill.
 
Jack’s Diner will also enter the neighborhood, as it takes shape within the renovated property that once housed the Urban Appalachian Council. The diner will serve not only as the only restaurant within the neighborhood, but the upstairs will function as a service learning center for high schools and colleges.
 
“It serves the neighborhood, it could be a revenue stream for the nonprofit Community Matters, and it’s a gathering place,” Moroski says. “So now we have the opportunity to provide educational space and have another revenue generator for the school.” 

Do Good:

Support Community Matters through its crowdfunding campaign. 

Support the Lower Price Hill Community School by donating, volunteering or spreading the word.

Contact Mike Moroski if you're interested in volunteering. 

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Creativity and cuisine will collide at The Carnegie's Art of Food

Visual artists and some of the finest chefs in the Tri-State will join together at the end of this month for the opening reception of The Carnegie’s annual exhibition The Art of Food.
 
“This is the seventh year we’ve been doing it, and it’s really great,” says Katie Brass, executive director at The Carnegie. “There’s a lot of stuff you can build on, whether it’s cookware or utensils or wine glasses. We’ve had some amazing art come out of this. “
 
In addition to cookware and utensils, edible designs and creative dishes will fill all six of The Carnegie’s galleries, with creations from chefs ranging in specialties represented.
 
Seasonal foods from Eat Well and hand-crafted delights from Chocolats Latour are just a couple of the local eateries to be showcased at the culinary art show.
 
For Brass, though, The Art of Food is more than a display of unique art forms. It’s a community experience.
 
“Our gallery opening—just like when you sit down and eat—you’re with friends, and you sit down at the table, and you’re having this wonderful time,” Brass says. “And it all revolves around food—and that was the basis for this.”
 
The Art of Food opens February 28 at 6 p.m. and runs through March 16. 

Do Good:

Purchase a ticket to attend the opening reception of The Art of Food, February 28 from 6-9 p.m.

• Check out the exhibition during Gallery Hours, which are Wednesday-Saturday, 12-5 p.m. 

• Like The Carnegie on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


From empathy to advocacy after SNAP challenge

In Hamilton County alone, 148,570 individuals—18.5 percent—are considered “food insecure.” More than 20 percent of that number is made up of children—40,250 of whom are not receiving sufficient nourishment.  

In an effort to raise awareness of food insecurity and increase advocacy for its 25 member groups, Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati recently completed its first SNAP Challenge, in which 55 individuals committed to eating on a strict budget for one week—a budget simulating the $31.50 per week allotted to an individual receiving SNAP benefits today. 

“We wanted to reiterate the fact that even though you’ve taken this challenge and it might have been difficult, that’s a tiny fraction of what someone in poverty would actually experience, because they have so many other things working against them,” says Alicia Hildebrand, an Americorps Public Ally and the organizer of Community Shares’ SNAP Out of It Challenge. 

Things like transportation, lack of time to meal-plan and lack of resources in the kitchen to prepare healthy meals are just a few of the obstacles hundreds of thousands of our neighbors are facing. 

As part of the challenge, Community Shares organized a meal-planning workshop, facilitated by Peachy Seiden of Peachy’s Health Smart, in an effort to show individuals facing food insecurity how they can maximize their resources to eat healthy. 

According to Hildebrand, many people realize that hunger exists, but they don’t realize the prevalence of food insecurity in our country, let alone our region. 

“The experience can be a great catalyst for the positive changes we want to see in our community,” Hildebrand says. “And I think that once you have the empathy and you understand and can make that change from a point of understanding, then you can turn that empathy into advocacy and take it to another level and work toward policy change.” 

Do Good:

• Support Community Shares' member organizations by giving.

• Volunteer with one of Community Shares' member organizations.

Contact Alicia Hildebrand if you're interested in getting involved with Community Shares.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

NKY woman makes strides against nutritional poverty

When Monica Remmy settled on a place to live and made the decision to purchase a house, she found herself drawn to Northern Kentucky—more specifically Newport—because of its walkability and amenities.
 
“There’s a family-run butcher, two small theaters in walking distance—there’s a lot around here,” Remmy says.
 
The area is one Remmy appreciates, but she also understands the various needs of her community.
 
She lives just down the street from the Henry Hosea House—a nonprofit that serves those in need. And it’s the only Northern Kentucky facility that serves a hot evening meal seven days a week.
 
A few Christmases ago when Remmy couldn’t travel to Tennessee to visit her mother—who Remmy says grew up in Appalachia and knew what it was like to live in poverty—she took the money she would have spent on presents and instead bought items for the Hosea House.
 
“I dropped everything off and told them I have skills in graphic design and would like to help if I can,” Remmy says.
 
She later found herself putting together a fresh food drive for the organization, and spent most of 2011 helping the Hosea House apply for—and receive—a $30,000 grant to combat nutritional poverty.
 
“As part of the three things we wanted to do around nutritional poverty, I led a project on Hosea House’s behalf and put together a garden,” says Remmy, who now serves as volunteer manager for the garden, where she works to plant and harvest fresh produce for use in the soup kitchen.  
 
From non-GMO Roma tomatoes donated from someone in the neighborhood to plants offered from the individual on the other side of the neighboring fence, the backyard plot of land has transformed into a focal point in the community.
 
“Everyone who walked by stopped to say how beautiful it was or how impressed they were with how tall things were getting, and it really brought a nice little bright spot,” Remmy says. “And all of the produce that isn’t used in the kitchen to prepare the meals is given out to the guests. It wasn’t even definite we’d get it off the ground that first year, but we did, and it’s been amazing.”  

Do Good:

Support the Hosea House. Remmy's goal is to restore funding for educational programs with local school children at the garden. 

Contact Remmy if you would like to volunteer with the garden. 

• Support the Hosea House by donating needed items.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

World Affairs Council fundraiser at 21c to promote global education

The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council will host its first annual fundraiser for global education with its ONE mind — ONE World — ONE Night event at 21c Museum Hotel Saturday, February 8.
 
Promoting global awareness throughout the Greater Cincinnati community is part of the nonprofit’s mission, so raising awareness about the educational programs it offers is a top priority.
 
The fundraiser itself, which is a cocktail reception, dinner and team-based competition branded as an international challenge where “Jeopardy! meets Where in the World is Carmen San Diego,” is based on a model of one of its high school education programs, called Academic WorldQuest.
 
“It’s a game of global wit,” says executive director Michelle Harpenau. “We’re trying to see which team has the highest global IQ, so everyone attending is a player in the game.”
 
Some of the organization’s other educational offerings include initiatives like Global Classrooms, in which international students from local universities prepare a presentation on their home country, then share it with local elementary schools.
 
Harpenau says the international students love it because it helps them get over their homesickness.
 
“They find that a lot of the time, they do a lot of things on campus but never get to actually go into the community to share their culture and their home,” Harpenau says. “And the grade school students are so excited to meet someone from abroad firsthand and have that international experience.” 

Do Good:

• Support the GCWAC by purchasing a ticket to ONE Mind — ONE World — ONE Night.

• Support the GCWAC by becoming a member.

• Like the GCWAC on Facebook, keep up with events, and choose one to attend. 

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

Interact for Health brings Cook for America to three local school districts

Three local school districts are participating in Cook for America’s three-phase program so they can offer healthy eating options and scratch cooking in their cafeterias next school year.
 
Interact for Health, formerly The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, is funding this $150,000 initiative for the Erlanger-Elsmere, Milford and Norwood School Districts.
 
When combined, these districts serve more than 16,000 area students.
 
“We’re looking at how to create healthy environments so people really can have healthy food and physical activity at their disposal so they can become healthier,” says Jaime Love, Interact for Health’s program officer for healthy eating and active living.
 
Participating schools are currently in the first phase of the program, which involves food assessment—looking at the schools’ kitchens, what is being served within them, how food is being prepared, and what districts can do to budget for healthier options and food preparation techniques. 
 
“We’re trying to focus on how to make it affordable and also effective, because they’re short on staff and short on time,” Love says.
 
The second phase of the program kicks off this summer when participating districts send their culinary staff members to Cook for America’s five-day Lunch Teachers Culinary Boot Camp.
 
“They’ll go through training about food prep, food safety, creating menus, and literally learning how they can do scratch cooking in schools and make it taste good and be affordable and within their budgets,” Love says.
 
Cook for America chefs will then do follow-up visits at each school’s kitchen to provide assistance in implementing the changes, which will begin to take place during the 2014-15 school year.
 
“Schools have a huge impact on our students and the food that they eat, which in turn also impacts students as learners,” Love says. “We really want schools to be a place where kids can get healthy foods and really receive the nourishment that they need, and we want schools to believe that they can do this.”

Do Good:

• Contact your local district's superintendent or food service director, and encourage healthier options in your schools.

• Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and aim for physical activity 3-5 days a week. 
 
• Like Interact for Health on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Tom+Chee backs small nonprofits

Tom + Chee knows what it’s like to be the underdog.
 
What was once a food tent at Fountain Square is now a nationally recognized brand under contract to be a more-than-100-store operation in 2014 (see Tom+Chee prepares for rapid growth in 2014). And it’s this rise-from-the-top mentality that Tom + Chee co-founders Jenny Rachford and Jenn Quackenbush say they apply to the company’s involvement in the nonprofit sector as well.
 
“Of course we’d love to give to everyone doing good work,” Rachford says. “There are a lot of people trying to do good things, but the small groups don’t have a lot of the support the big ones can pull.”
 
So Tom + Chee created The Grilled Cheese That Cares program this past October when it partnered with The Kentucky Thorough-Breasts—a team of breast cancer survivors and dragon boat racers affiliated with Paddling for Cancer Awareness.
 
“We developed a campaign which involved the Pink Dragon Fire Donut, which was a glazed donut with cherry mascarpone, graham cracker and jalapeno compote, and donated a dollar from each to their cause,” Rachford says.
 
Continuing with the trend of supporting small, local nonprofits, T+C  is now collecting gifts for children connected with Autism 4 Families and Puzzling Panthers, in exchange for a free grilled cheese donut.
 
So for a total of seven families and 27 children, the financial strain of purchasing gifts from each child’s wish list will be removed, as presents will be provided through the Grilled Cheese That Cares initiative.
 
“Christmas time is special—especially for kids,” Rachford says. “We all have our childhood memories of Christmases, good or bad, but as grownups and even with our business—we’re kid-centered, family-centered and focused, and this is something that genuinely comes from that place. We want to make families happy.” 

Do Good:

• Contact Jenny Rachford or Jenn Quackenbush if you're a local nonprofit who would like to partner up for future Grilled Cheese that Cares efforts.

• Visit a Tom + Chee location, pick up a gift tag with a child's name and request on it, and return the unwrapped item by Dec. 20 for a free grilled cheese donut.  

• Support local nonprofits.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

Celebrate community, gratitude at ninth annual Fall Feast

Six thousand meals will be served this Thanksgiving as the community joins together at this year’s Fall Feast to celebrate Cincinnati and the individuals who call the city home.
 
“Anyone can come to this event—we’ve built it on the idea of incorporating all walks of life at one table to share a meal,” says Erin Klotzbach, Fall Feast coordinator. “I wanted this to be an event where there were no demographics—there were no visual signs of ‘I’m from an upper echelon, you’re from the lower monetary demographic,’—I just wanted it to be more of an experience where you’d go to an event.”
 
Klotzbach got involved with Give Back Cincinnati five years ago when she attended Fall Feast and was a member of the planning committee. After one year of involvement, Klotzbach adopted the role of chairperson, and she’s served in that capacity for four years now, while working to transform the gathering into what it is today.
 
“The first year I chaired the event, we asked City Gospel Mission to join as a partner, and along with that came a few extra things they would do at their Thanksgiving dinner—coats and haircuts—because it was something they offered their guests,” Klotzbach says. “So we built that into our dinner, and it kind of evolved from a dinner to a dinner and resource day.”
 
The Duke Energy Convention Center will serve as the venue for the 3,500 guests who come to dine together, while 2,500 meals will be served to-go at various locations throughout the city. In addition to food, free haircuts and a coat giveaway, the event will also include free health screenings, pediatric and dental checkups, a children’s play area, live music and a big-screen television for community members to enjoy the national staples of Thanksgiving Day: parades and football.
 
“What makes Cincinnati great is its community—it’s a very giving culture—there’s lots of different resources for people in need,” Klotzbach says. “And it’s really an opportunity for different people to sit down at a table and interact with people they might not necessarily interact with. It’s bridging the gap in a situation where it might normally be uncomfortable, or you might not know how to engage that way, but because you’re sitting at the same table and you don’t see those lines, it’s very clear that we’re all there for each other.”

Do Good:

• Make Fall Feast part of your family's Thanksgiving Day tradition by attending the event. Meals are served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Doors open at 9 a.m.

• Donate new or gently used coats and other winter accessories to be given away at Fall Feast. 

• Like Give Back Cincinnati and City Gospel Mission on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

SparkRecipes gives back, fights hunger with recipe contest

SparkPeople wants you to be inspired to live a healthier and happier life, and with the re-launch of its SparkRecipes website, you can do just that while finding nearly 600,000 quick, tasty and nutritious options to incorporate into your meal preparing routine.
 
To celebrate health and fitness site’s re-launch and to give back to its community of members, as well as the communities in which its members reside, the company is hosting the $10,000 Split-the-Pot Recipe Contest.
 
The aim is to find the best slow cooker recipe in the country, while also providing assistance to individuals who are facing issues of food insecurity.
 
“Slow cooking is a style that’s very popular with our members—it’s usually pretty vegetable heavy, it’s healthy, it’s easy,” says Joe Robb, SparkPeople’s digital marketing manager. “But we also wanted to make this a contest with a social component. So we came up with a split-the-pot idea where the grand prize is $10,000 dollars split down the middle—half to the winner and the other half to the soup kitchen or charity of their choice.”
 
According to Robb, it’s important for SparkPeople to give back because it’s the site’s community of members that makes SparkPeople “America’s largest diet and healthy living website.”
 
“We believe the reason our site does so well is not just because we have tools to measure exercise and goals, but a big portion is the community aspect,” Robb says. “It’s a reflection of what we see in our daily lives—if someone is having trouble getting those last few pounds, they get positive motivation to get them to their goal—and in Cincinnati and all across the world, they’re part of a community. So this is a way to help out our online community while also taking half that prize money to help out their local community.” 

Do Good: 

• Vote for your favorite recipe daily, and if you come across a local member's recipe, vote to support a close-to-home nonprofit. 

• Browse SparkRecipes to find healthy eating options.

• Volunteer and support nonprofits in your local community. 

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

Random Snacks of Kindness benefits nonprofit community

If you’re in need of a locally made $10 dollar holiday gift, Random Snacks of Kindness is now available, and 100 percent of the profits will benefit ArtWorks, a nonprofit organization that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact through three strategic programming areas: public art, art therapy and entrepreneurship.
 
The snack mix is the first of what local chef Frances Kroner hopes will be many productions in her philanthropic line.
 
“My parents are in social work and nursing, and I always felt a little guilty—like I didn’t give back as much as I’d like to in my life or my career,” says Kroner of Feast and Sleepy Bee Café, which is her newest venture, set to open next month in Oakley.
 
Random Snacks of Kindness is what Kroner calls “a sort of merging of a lot of different things in life all at once.”
 
In addition to being a way to give back, the idea for the first project came as a response to her experience in ArtWorks’ SpringBoard business development program.
 
“I got to know them better and how they work with apprentices and thought it was a really cool organization,” Kroner says. “I had seen the murals and heard of them, but I got a glimpse into the back end of things once I went through SpringBoard, and after I finished, I wanted to stay connected.”
 
So Kroner pitched an idea to the organization that would take the apprenticeships the organization already had in place, and expand them from mural-based art to food-based design and entrepreneurial skills.
 
“I didn’t realize how big an impact it was going to have on them, but you can tell already that it was such an eye opener to them to see how much work goes into a product—how much work goes into a business,” Kroner says. “I think they’ll probably retain that knowledge—they’ll remember for a long time.”

Watch a video introducing Random Snacks of Kindness to learn more.

Do Good:

• Support ArtWorks by purchasing the apprentices' Ginger Coconut Snack Mix. 

• If your nonprofit would like to partner with Random Snacks of Kindness to create a mix in the future, contact Frances Kroner.

• Like Random Snacks of Kindness on Facebook, and share the page with your friends.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

Price Hill Will introduces new model for community gardening

Part of Price Hill Will’s mission is to improve the neighborhood through community engagement, and the organization has found an innovative new way of doing so—by shifting the traditional model of community gardening.
 
“Not everyone’s going to be able to come out to a community garden, so we wanted to diversify our green program so that we can help people in their own places and really meet everybody’s needs where their needs are,” says Pamela Taylor, Price Hill Will’s community outreach coordinator.
 
So the nonprofit created a program called Grow It Forward.
 
“We come to your home, install garden beds and get you started with planting free of charge,” says Chris Smyth, sustainability coordinator at Price Hill Will. “All we ask in return is that you help with three more garden installs.”
 
So a community member requests a garden setup, which is customized depending on how much space is available and what an individual wants to grow. Then they volunteer their time by interacting with their neighbors to help them do the same.
 
“It’s kind of a decentralized model of community gardening by bringing people together to help with each others’ gardens,” Taylor says. “Or people can share seeds or sprouts, plants, or even produce later on.”
 
In addition to receiving a garden setup and the motivation to meet your neighbors while offering a helping hand, Taylor says there are a multitude of other benefits the program offers.
 
“It’s fun to be out in the back yard gardening in the sun. It’s healthy growing fresh fruits and vegetables, and it’s much cheaper to grow your own foods and supplement nutrition than it is to go out and buy produce at the grocery store or the farmer’s market where it might be even more expensive,” Taylor says.
 
“And if people have difficult work schedules or transportation issues getting to a community garden, it’s a lot more accessible for them. There are also a lot of barriers people have—but there’s a source of knowledge we can share about what goes together well, what types of plants will grow when, and things like that.”

Do Good:
• Contact Chris Smyth if you'd like a garden set up, or if you're interested in volunteering your gardening skills and knowledge.

• Support Price Hill Will by donating. 

• Sign up for Price Hill Will's weekly newsletter.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Hospitality Academy hosts Recipe for Success, helps student chefs

About a year and a half ago, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College partnered with the Freestore Foodbank to put together a program that would help individuals from Cincinnati’s urban core transition into a culinary career path. 
 
The two organizations worked together to create what is now called the Hospitality Academy of Cincinnati and is designed for graduates of the FSFB’s Cincinnati Cooks program.
 
“We were able to give students 30 credit hours for prior learning, and then we designed a Kitchen Management Certificate—a three-credit hour program that taught the students more complex things like food inventory management. So the students who graduate end up having 33 credit hours, which is nearly half an associates degree,” says Dennis Ulrich, Cincinnati State’s Vice President of Workforce Development.
 
After the completion of the first-year pilot program, 14 of the 20 participants graduated, four are now enrolled at Cincinnati State and one opened up a catering business.
 
“So it’s had wonderful actual results in terms of what they’ve been able to do in going through the program,” Ulrich says.
 
To continue producing results, however, the Hospitality Academy has to come up with the funding.
 
“It costs about $65,000 dollars to run a program, which means it’s free for the students, but that’s the cost,” Ulrich says.
 
In an effort to raise $125,000—enough to support two programs—the academy will host Recipe for Success, a fundraiser bringing together 20 restaurants that will serve food by the bite at Horseshoe Casino. During the event, student chefs will participate in a competition requiring them to create a meal out of ingredients provided to them in a mystery basket.
 
“We’re trying to become self-sufficient by putting together a food event,” Ulrich says. “There are a lot of folks who have struggled in their lives—who have had some difficulty legally or financially—and they’ve really stepped up to try to get a career pathway. They have an excess of 105 graduates of Cincinnati Cooks, so these are people from the inner city who’ve really struggled and who have a tremendous opportunity getting through the new program and getting another level of opportunity in their careers.”

Do Good: 

• Support the Hospitality Academy of Cincinnati by purchasing a ticket to attend Recipe for Success November 3 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Horseshoe Casino.

• Sponsor Recipe for Success. 

• Like Cincinnati State Workforce Development Center's Facebook page, and spread the word about Recipe for Success by inviting your friends to the event.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

Findlay Market prompts togetherness, urban farming

At this year’s fourth-annual Eat Local for the Globe event at Findlay Market, individuals came together to support the market’s civic mission and public goals, but also to appreciate the space and offerings that a public market in downtown Cincinnati brings to the table.
 
“I look at it as a celebration of Findlay Market—like a party—a real celebration of the market,” says Karen Kahle, director of communications programs for The Corporation for Findlay Market. “We get folks down here in the evening and they realize it’s safe and fun to hang out around Findlay Market. I think the next phase of the market’s development is getting more people in the neighborhood and getting things open in the evenings so the neighborhood becomes a vibrant place and not one that people feel is unsafe or not welcoming.”
 
Bringing 70 people to a chef’s table, while offering cocktails and dinner by the bite throughout the area surrounding the market, is one way Findlay is already succeeding. But it’s also doing things like helping new businesses get going by adding full-time vendors to the market, greening the market and training a new generation of urban farmers how to grow commercially on small, urban lots.
 
“Four or five years ago, everyone was trying to start farmers markets, and kind of cannibalizing everyone’s farmers. So to guarantee that supply—there were lots of vacant lots in the city—it just made sense to start a program,” Kahle says.
 
“It’s just great in that it helps the community learn more about how to grow food, and where your food comes from, and it also engages people in actual hands-on learning—how to do it. And then I think just the Elm and Liberty garden—folks stop by there all the time and appreciate having something like that growing in what’s otherwise a pretty blighted neighborhood.”
 
Through the Findlay Market Farms! program, the nonprofit has engaged interns and supported individuals while teaching them to direct market sell products.
 
“About two dozen people have gone through the program, and at last count, I think six of them have continued to have jobs and work in agriculture and growing specialty crops,” Kahle says. “It’s a really great project, and now that we’re going to have a more permanent site, we hope we can build the soil up at that site and continue the project and reach our goal of 50 cents to a dollar per square foot, which would make it self-supporting on an annual basis.”

Do Good: 

• Keep up with Findlay Market events, and attend.

• Support the market's fundraising efforts.

• Contact Findlay Market if you're interested in volunteering with one of its programs or initiatives. 

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.

Cincinnati Fondo brings cyclists together in support of Freestore Foodbank

The second annual Cincinnati Fondo takes place September 22 when cyclists will come together to ride one of two courses—a 57-mile Fondo or a 114-mile Gran Fondo—along the roads of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s countryside to raise money for the Freestore Foodbank.
 
For novice cyclist Ramon Rodriguez, who serves as vice president at Fifth Third Bank and as a board member of the FSFB, the race is a way to enjoy beautiful scenery while also supporting a great cause.
 
Rodriguez joined the board of the FSFB about six years ago at a time in his life when he says his scope of understanding with regard to the organization’s goals was limited.
 
“Like many people here in Cincinnati, we see the lines that form in front of our Liberty distribution center, come Christmas and come Thanksgiving, where families go and get their boxes for holiday meals,” Rodriguez says. “But the scope of services and the reach that the Freestore has was something that was totally new to me.”
 
The organization’s reach is far more apparent to Rodriguez at this point in time, and while he’s inspired by all of the programs offered by the FSFB, he says he has a particular affinity toward the Power Pack Program.
 
“These are packages of food that are assembled for the benefit of children that have food insecurity when they come home after school. So, either they pick it up on Friday, and they have food for the weekend, or once there’s longer breaks from school, they’re able to have some form of food security available to them,” Rodriguez says. “And we provide that, and it takes only four dollars to create one power pack for a child every week.”
 
Registering for the Cincinnati Fondo, Rodriguez says, will provide the funds necessary to help the FSFB with programs like the Power Pack, and in this case, would be enough to provide a child with enough packs for an entire month.  
 
“We have major corporations based here in Cincinnati, but you still see a large number of children that still come home to empty pantries,” Rodriguez says. “That’s been a big driver. I have a 7- and 9-year-old at home, and thinking of them going without—it’s unimaginable.”

Do Good: 

• Register for the Cincinnati Fondo.

• Support the Freestore Foodbank by making a donation.
 
 • Volunteer with the Freestore Foodbank.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.

Wesley Community Services supports diabetic health with Meals4You

Wesley Community Services is on track to distribute more than 400,000 meals on wheels this year, and as part of the nonprofit’s efforts, it’s incorporated Meals4You, which are meals available to individuals of any age. 

Meals4You is a program designed to cater to the needs of individuals with diabetes, but according to Tracy Carres, who serves as account executive for Diabetic Home Delivered Meals, anyone is welcome to participate in the program. “We don’t ask any questions,” Carres says.

There are currently 28 different meals available—breakfast, lunch and dinner—and at five dollars each, the meals ensure value and nutrition, which is important in anyone’s life. “We have a nutritionist advisory board in place—registered dieticians from UC and Christ Hospital, so they make our menu,” Carres says.

“It’s humbling, to be quite honest with you, because we’re the only company who has these therapeutic meals in the area, which is good for us,” Carres says. “But it’s also bad because no one knows it exists, and it’s such a huge population that I’m barely touching a percentage of it.” 

Since diabetes is considered an epidemic, Carres says it’s necessary to do something to help people manage the disease. 

“About three months ago, we did interviews with consistent customers, and we had success stories where A1C levels had dropped, insulin was lower, they lost weight—but the biggest thing is compliance by the individual,” Carres says. “Some people had ordered once and never ordered again, and a lot of people said, 'I like going to Waffle House or Golden Corral,' which is fine, but it doesn’t help manage your diabetes.” 

To remedy some of the issues surrounding healthy eating, Carres says that rather than adding salt to season vegetables, a Mrs. Dash packet is now included with every meal, as to not alter nutritional values but still add spice and flavor. 

“Everyone seems to know someone with diabetes,” Carres says. “It’s a matter of just letting those people know that we’re here.” 

Do Good: 

• Order meals through Meals4You if you are diabetic or simply in need of a delivered and healthy eating option. 

• Call (513) 244-5488 if you have a community group interested in hearing about Meals4You.  

• Support Wesley Community Services by making a charitable donation.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 
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