A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Apartment Association Outreach provides grants to 20 food pantries, helping build stable families

Following its mission of building stable families and communities throughout the region, the Apartment Association Outreach, Inc., (AAO) has donated $24,000 to 20 food pantries throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

The $1,200 food pantry donations are just one example of the nearly $250,000 that the AAO raises and distributes annually to help build stable families and communities throughout the region. AAO – the 501c3 not-for-profit charitable organization of the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association (GCNKAA) – provides thousands of people across Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky each year with emergency assistance, rental assistance, food donations, school supplies, scholarships and senior citizen events.

“Every day, there are families and individuals in need of housing, food, school supplies, and continuing education,” said AAO Executive Vice President Rebecca McLean. “There are senior citizens who just need our time, our attention and our love.”

“This is where we step in and help, so they don’t have to choose between paying their rent and buying food,” McLean said.

AAO annually sends funds to its 20 food pantry partners in the spring and directly distributes non-perishable food items to each pantry in the fall.

The most recent food pantry donation was funded along with other AAO charity partner projects through a $30,000 grant AAO received from the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation. Each of the following pantries received $1,200 donations:

Madisonville Education and Assistance Center.
Zion UCC Pantry/Norwood.
Jewish Family Service.
Welcome House of Northern Kentucky.
Brighton Center.
Boone County Head Start.
Gateway Community & Technical College.
Anderson Ferry.
Corpus Christi.
For His Glory Pantry.
SEM Pantry.
The Caring Place.
Fairfield Food Pantry.
SON Ministries.
Tri-County Soul Ministries.
Reach Out Lakota Lake.
Open Door Food Pantry.
Salvation Army, Middletown.

AAO also provides emergency assistance to individuals and families in their time of need. When 35 families were displaced by a late April fire at a Florence apartment complex, the AAO was there to help with $80 in Walmart and Home Depot gift cards for each of the families.

“When families and individuals require emergency help and assistance, the AAO tries to be there in their time of need,” McLean said.
AAO touched thousands of lives last year by providing:

• More than $148,000 in rent assistance through partnerships with four social service partners – Freestore Foodbank, CAIN (Churches Active in Northside), Santa Maria Community Services and Jewish Family Service.
• $70,000 in non-perishable food items to 20 pantry partners.
• $15,000 in school supplies to more than 1,500 children through the AAO Backpack Drive.
• More than $11,000 in educational scholarships.
• Meals and entertainment to senior citizens living in affordable housing communities.

Santa Maria Community Services is a catalyst and advocate for Cincinnati’s Greater Price Hill families to attain their educational, financial, and health goals. Its Stable Families Program is an 18-month case management program that promotes self-sufficiency for parents of school-aged children in the Price Hill area who are experiencing a housing risk factor.

“The AAO helps us greatly through monetary donations that go directly to benefit the families we serve through financial assistance to maintain their housing during times of hardship,” said Santa Maria Stable Families Program Coordinator Molly Swaidan. “We aim to support parents as they achieve stabilization, avoid disruptive moves that hinder school attendance, and work toward long term goals. We appreciate the ongoing support from the AAO, which has helped us increase our ability to serve families through their partnership over the last several years.”

AAO’s Rent Assistance Program is for people who cannot pay their rent due to a personal emergency or conflict beyond their control.

“We know many clients come to us for food first, and we ask them how we can help in other areas of their lives in an effort to stabilize their family,” said Trisha Rayner, Chief Development Officer and Vice President of External Affairs for the Freestore Foodbank. “The Apartment Association Outreach program provides the Freestore with quarterly emergency rental assistance funds to assist residents that live in one of their member properties.”

“Our team and the families that we serve are incredibly grateful for this ongoing support,” Rayner said.

The assistance was particularly helpful as families and individuals struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, said CAIN Executive Director Melissa Meyer.

“AAO has stepped up its support during the pandemic so we can serve even more people in need,” Meyer said. “AAO is an integral partner in CAIN’s rent and utility assistance program and pantry operations. Their support has allowed us to prevent evictions, keep utilities on and feed people.”

Other AAO programs include:

Scholarship Program.
AAO has launched a partnership with Gateway Community and Technical College in Northern Kentucky, contributing to the school’s Student Emergency Fund. The program helps students overcome financial barriers that may put them at risk of dropping out. Scholarships are also awarded to candidates for National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP), Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) and Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician (CAMT).

Backpack and School Supplies Program. Each year AAO – in partnership with Santa Maria Community Services – donates backpacks and school supplies to more than 1,500 children in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Senior Events. AAO provides lunch, drinks, desserts, music and bingo games to seniors living in affordable, low income rental housing.

Emergency Fund. Immediate emergency assistance is provided to individuals or families in dire need due to a catastrophic event.

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