Volunteer Spotlight: Mid-Ohio Foodbank

Julanne Hohbach

This monthly feature focuses on volunteer opportunities for Central Ohio families.

Editor’s Note: Mid-Ohio Foodbank announced in late July—after our print deadline—that it would no longer operate Clarfield Urban Farm due to inability to reach a lease agreement and that officials are working to find a new farm location.

It’s an unfortunate reality that thousands of families go hungry every day in the Columbus area. Mid-Ohio Foodbank aims to end that problem, but the nonprofit can’t do it alone.

Most Central Ohioans know they can help the organization by donating money or food. But Mid-Ohio Foodbank also relies on donated time, and kids (with adult supervision) are welcome.

Different opportunities are available. “For families with kids 13 and up, they can pretty much travel around to any of our locations and do any of our projects,” said Liz Garrabrant, director of volunteer services. Activities include sorting food or working in the South Side Roots Café & Market, which offers fresh foods and meal programs.

Ages 11 and older can help at the Kroger Community Food Pantry by stocking items and helping customers. Families with younger children are welcome at Clarfield Urban Farm, a 3-acre plot that’s part of the Urban Farmers of Central Ohio initiative.

Volunteering at events, including various races and community festivals where Mid-Ohio Foodbank has a presence, also is popular. “A lot of families do the races together,” said media relations manager Jill Jess.

Annually, the organization has about 11,000 volunteers who contribute 60,000 to 63,000 hours of time, Garrabrant said. “Volunteering as a family gives children [a] different perspective on the world they live in,” she said.

But there are other ways for children to help, including holding food drives and asking for donations in lieu of birthday presents. “If kids are a little bit older, they’ll donate their birthday on social media,” Jess said.

For more information, go to midohiofoodbank.org or call 614-317-9703.