Freestore Foodbank and Cincinnati Children’s Collaborate to Help Food Insecure Families

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A collaboration between Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Freestore Foodbank has not only helped provide infant formula to more than 1,000 food insecure families in the area but also improved their preventive healthcare.

A study of the first-two years of the Keeping Infants Nourished and Developing (KIND) program is published online in the journal Pediatrics.

The KIND program was launched in March 2011 after researchers at Cincinnati Children’s published data showing that 30 percent of households with infants who receive primary care at Cincinnati Children’s were food insecure. This is defined as the lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic nutritional needs at all times due to lack of resources. Fifteen percent of households with infants attending the Pediatric Primary Care Center (PPCC) at Cincinnati Children’s reported stretching, diluting or limiting formula to make supplies last.

“KIND was designed to begin to fill the gap,” says Andrew Beck, MD, a pediatrician at the PPCC and lead author of the study. “KIND links the PPCC, which is a clinic with excellent access to food insecure households that have infants less than 12 months of age, with the Freestore Foodbank, which has great expertise and is more than willing to provide needed assistance.”

KIND was started to provide supplementary infant formula and a link to medical and legal interventions in the PPCC and community. The PPCC includes social workers, registered dieticians and representatives from the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, who can help families obtain public benefits or intervene regarding housing conditions that affect health. Community resources include the Freestore Foodbank, United Way 2-1-1, Cincinnati Works and the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati.

“Providing proper nutrition to babies is imperative to helping their development and mental health,” said Kurt Reiber, president and CEO of the Freestore Foodbank and a co-author of the study. “KIND is working to help minimize food insecurity among infants in the communities where we live and work and helping to give them a chance at a brighter future.”

In its first two years, KIND reached more than 1,000 families. Recipients were more likely than non-recipients to have completed a lead poisoning test and a developmental screening. They also were more likely to have received a full set of well-infant visits by the age of 14 months. They were significantly more likely to have been referred to social work or to a collaborative program between the PPCC and Legal Aid intended to improve child health and well-being by resolving legal problems.

KIND has now spread to include five other primary care centers, including one Cincinnati Health Department clinic, two federally qualified health centers in the area, and a suburban site where providers have been seeing a growing number of newly unemployed families at increased risk for food insecurity.

KIND is funded by a grant from Procter & Gamble’s Live, Learn and Thrive initiative.

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S.News & World Report’s 2014 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

About the Freestore Foodbank

The Freestore Foodbank is the largest emergency food and services provider to children and families in the Tri-State. The organization distributes more than 18.5 million meals annually to more than 300,000 low-income individuals and families. The Freestore Foodbank supports more than 275 community partners in 20 counties throughout Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, including food kitchens, homeless shelters, emergency food pantries and social service centers. By providing emergency food distribution, the Freestore Foodbank responds to the issue of poverty and food insecurity in our community and provides an array of services (emergency clothing, housing services, SNAP assistance, Medicaid outreach and others) aimed at creating self-reliance. The Freestore Foodbank is a charter member of Feeding America. Visit for more information.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer