Most of Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s grocery products are distributed through our network of more than 625 partner agencies that work directly with clients at the local level. Learn more about this work here. In addition to the day-to-day work of our partners, the Foodbank supports many other programs and initiatives that help us feed hungry families across 20 Ohio counties.
South Side Roots Café & Market
Co-located at the Reeb Avenue Center, Roots Café offers low cost meals with a varied payment structure, allowing patrons to pay for their meal, pay it forward for someone else’s meal or to pay through volunteering.
The Roots Market offers affordable grocery items at a lower cost than major grocery chains to increase access. The Café kitchen provides meals for students at the adjoined South Side Learning & Development Center and Boys & Girl Club of Columbus.
Designed to engage our 20 county service network in localized planning sessions that optimize each community’s response to hunger. As a series of five participatory meetings, these conversations uncover the collective wisdom and self-organizing capacity within communities served by Mid-Ohio Foodbank to assess, design, plan, and implement client centric strategies as identified and implemented by the community and its resources. To date, conversation series have been held in 19 of the 20 county service area. Currently, we are developing a strategy to host conversations in Franklin County. Also to understand, inform, validate, and reconnect with this initiative, we have developed a robust framework to ‘document our learnings’ so that we can continue to understand and integrate our learning outcomes within our organization and the communities we serve.
Collaborating for Clients (C4C)
We recognize that people who access the Mid-Ohio Foodbank network are also struggling to pay for rent, utilities, medical care, and other essential needs – and making difficult trade-offs that comprise their health and perpetuate instability. In order to improve people’s long-term food security, Mid-Ohio Foodbank has launched Collaborating for Clients.
Using a holistic, client centric approach, Collaborating for Clients aims to build a comprehensive, systemic framework to collectively address the root causes of food insecurity and the intersecting symptoms of poverty. Specifically, C4C seeks to address the issues of food insecurity, health, housing, employment/income, and education. Leveraging the momentum of the Reeb Avenue Center, this initiative will focus on creating a transformational process in the South Side to end hunger.
Mid-Ohio Foodbank is convening leaders from across the community, including representatives from human service organizations, philanthropic entities, businesses, and the public sector to engage in a client-centric transformation process. As a result of these conversations, Thrive partners will establish and champion a roadmap for our community that will set in motion a long-term effort to strengthen families. The roadmap will illustrate how everyone can contribute to the shared goals. It would uncover how Mid-Ohio Foodbank can collaborate and collectively find solutions across sectors that will serve the holistic needs of our community members.
Fresh produce now makes up about one-third of our annual inventory. Produce is one of the best products for the Foodbank to obtain and distribute, not only because it is wholesome and nutritious, but also because it is the most readily available. Research from Feeding America has identified more than six billion domestic pounds of underutilized fresh produce annually. The Foodbank continues to develop strategies to capture significant portions of this valuable surplus. In addition to our regularly scheduled deliveries, a series of specialized produce distribution programs allow the Foodbank to provide more fresh food to low-income clients and improve access to food for under-served populations.
Urban Farms of Central Ohio (UFCO)
Urban Farms of Central Ohio transforms vacant land in under-served neighborhoods into productive, sustainable urban farms that provide low-income, food insecure residents increased access to fresh, local produce while encouraging civic engagement and offering job readiness training to young adults.
We are currently growing at two sites in Columbus, Clarfield Farm and Wheatland Farm.
Produce Express is a fresh produce delivery program that services our emergency feeding pantries and soup kitchens. The program allows our partner agencies the chance to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to families and individuals in need, on a regular basis, in addition to non-perishable food items.
Produce Markets are free community events sponsored by Mid-Ohio Foodbank and select partnering agencies. At these events a Foodbank truck delivers at least 10,000 pounds of fresh produce and bread and bakery products to a pre-selected community location. The fresh food is then distributed to community members in need.
This large community event relies on the hard work of the Foodbank, its partner agencies and many volunteers to serve upwards of 200 families per market. Click on the links to view current Produce Markets listings sorted by Agency Name and Produce Markets listings sorted by Zip Code.
Mobile Markets deliver fresh produce, dairy and bread and bakery products to low-income senior residences and subsidized daycare centers in Franklin County, as well as low-income community sites in rural counties. The Foodbank has a pair of specially-crafted refrigerated trucks for these distributions.
The Foodbank also operates an on-site Community Garden. The garden offers a learning experience for both community volunteers and families in need. Hands-on opportunities allow people to learn about how to grow food, eat healthier, and manage their food budgets. With around 1,400-square feet of growing space, the garden has contributed over 6,000 pounds of produce for the emergency food system. The garden also features a rain catchment system, greenhouse, and composting barrels. It sits right outside of Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Kroger Community Pantry.
Other Distribution Programs
Our BackPack program provides a rotating menu of simple to prepare, nutritious foods for children and their families living in low income neighborhoods. The food is delivered in cases from the Foodbank’s warehouse to the school site, where it‘s divided and placed in bags supplied by Mid-Ohio Foodbank. The amount of groceries sent home is based on a family of four – more for larger families when possible. All food provided is shelf-stable, with the addition of bread and fresh produce (e.g., apples, potatoes, etc.), when it is available. Sites are selected on the basis of need, proximity of other resources and site capacity.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a federal program provided through the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. CSFP provides a monthly box of nutritious food to low-income seniors.
Second Servings transports ready to eat foods from restaurants and food-service businesses directly to hot-meal feeding sites; such as soup kitchens, emergency shelters, and after-school enrichment programs in Franklin County. The food is intended for immediate consumption.
Kroger Community Pantry
Mid-Ohio Foodbank launched the Kroger Community Pantry in January 2012. The pantry is located at the Foodbank’s 3960 Brookham Drive location in Grove City. This choice-model pantry helps meet the needs of our growing community, and also serves as a learning lab to help Mid-Ohio Foodbank and its partner agencies improve best practices in emergency feeding services. For more information, click here.
Food Assistance Outreach
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is distributed on an Electronics Benefit Card (EBT) and helps eligible households supplement their food budget. SNAP benefits can only be spent on food.
Eligibility is based primarily on gross income and household size. Your household consists of all the people with whom you share meals. Click here for income eligibility guidelines. We work in partnership with Ohio Benefit Bank. Click here to submit an application.
Mid-Ohio Foodbank has an Outreach Team that goes out into the community to inform and to pre-screen individuals who have questions about eligibility. If you would like assistance in applying, a member of our Outreach Team can assist you in submitting your application along with required documentation.
In Franklin County, through a partnership with Franklin County Department of Job & Family Services, we are able to assist eligible households in completing the entire application at partner agencies where we maintain a regular outreach schedule.
Or, if you would just like more information, please contact Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Outreach Team Resource Line at 614-325-6443.
Mid-Ohio Foodbank provides ongoing education and training opportunities for our partner agencies. Educational classes and training workshops cover a variety of topics, including food safety, agency orientation, operational best practices, nutrition, produce market distribution and grant writing. Training opportunities are offered to help support the needs of our over 550 partner agencies.
In addition, the Agency Services and Programs department is dedicated to providing opportunities for our partner agencies to connect, engage, and share information and ideas through our annual All Agency Conference and eight regional meetings. To learn more about our partner agencies, click here.