Food Programs

At Oberlin Community Services, food is central to everything that we do. Each month, we provide food assistance to over 1,100 families through a combination of our Saturday Food Distribution, weekly Choice Pantry, and Senior Supplemental Food Program. In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, we supply over 400,000 pounds of fresh and non-perishable food annually. Our on-site community garden provides the community with fresh produce from May-October. In order to provide healthy choices, we partner with others to offer cooking classes and grocery store tours to help people learn about healthy eating and nutrition. We are always open to new ideas. Share your ideas >

Food Distribution

OCS provides a weekly Choice Pantry where residents can join us Monday-Friday to pick up fresh produce, protein, non-perishables, and prepared items. Every second Saturday is our Monthly Distribution where we serve hundreds of individuals and families. We also hold Holiday Distributions in November and December.

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Children's After-school snack

We work closely with Oberlin City Schools and the Oberlin Recreation Department to provide food for the city's after-school program at Eastwood Elementary school. OCS plans for and purchases all of this food and delivers it to the Recreation Department. 

Summer Food Service

53% of Oberlin children are eligible for free and reduced lunch. At Prospect Elementary School, 100% of students receive free and reduced lunch. Free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs are vital for reducing child food insecurity. In the summer months, children who rely on these programs during the school year face challenges.

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Sustainability Programs

OCS is committed to sustainable practices. We look at the entire food cycle and system, and integrate techniques to reduce waste. Through food rescue, we partner with retailers, Oberlin College and other institutions to salvage food that would otherwise be thrown out. We have a three-bin composting system and waste reduction philosophy. Our seed bank allows people to share seeds and grow their own produce.  

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Classes & Events

We partner with many groups and individuals to provide a variety of food-related educational programs.

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Food Rescue

Food rescue, also called food recovery or food salvage, is the practice of gleaning edible food that would otherwise go to waste. Food from places such as restaurants, grocery stores, produce markets, or dining facilities is distributed to local emergency food programs such as OCS. Volunteer drivers are always needed to pick up food rescue items.

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Services for Seniors

Income eligible seniors (age 60 and over) can sign up for a senior food box, a 30 lb pre-packed box of shelf-stable food once a month. Depending on where you live, multiple pickup sites are located at OCS and across southern Lorain County.

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Plant a Row

Plant-a-Row for the Hungry (PAR) is a two-pronged community food campaign run by OCS.

The people's garden

Our on-site organic community garden is a place for everyone to learn and grow. Whether someone chooses to volunteer, advise on gardening techniques, or just pick a tomato to eat, there are opportunities for people of all ages. Anyone can pick vegetables and herbs; we do ask that you come in to have it weighed so we can keep track how much the garden is producing.

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Meals on WHeels

In partnership with Mercy Allen Hospital, OCS coordinates a Meals on Wheels program for Oberlin residents. Interested people can pay to have hot and cold meals delivered to their door seven days a week. Food is prepared by the hospital and deliveries are made by OCS volunteers. 


Our Food Programs Coordinator is Hannah Rosenberg:

For volunteering information, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Rosa Gadsden,

Income Guidelines

These guidelines help determine eligibility to access our food pantry. If you have any questions, call us at 440-774-6579 or ask to speak with our Food Programs Coordinator.

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