Operation Southside Thrive is a partnership with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to combat food insecurity on Columbus' Southside. With a rich history of cultural diversity and community engagement, the Columbus Southside was once an industrial center with companies like Federal Glass and Buckeye Steel. These two companies employed so many people that residents today still use the phrase "Steel and Glass" to describe the neighborhood's heritage. Many years of economic decline, though, have left the neighborhood fighting urban blight, poverty and decreased access to key community resources like healthy and affordable food.

The term food insecurity refers to USDA's measure of the lack of access to enough food and limited availability of nutritional choices for all members of a household. According to 2015 data compiled by Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief charity, Franklin County had 1,215,761 residents, of which 212,050 (17.4%) were considered food insecure. This data, however, doesn't tell the whole story. According to a recent study published by researchers at The Ohio State University, that number is nearly double in certain neighborhoods around Columbus. Moreover, 25% of Southside residents live below the poverty line, which is 8% higher than the Franklin County average and almost double the 2017 national average (12.7%). Even with federal programs such as SNAP, WIC and free or reduced school lunches, there were a reported 938,445 visits to Mid-Ohio Foodbank affiliated pantries in Franklin County in 2016 and 34.4 million pounds of food and groceries and 18.6 million pounds of fresh produced distributed to individuals and families in need.

Through the partnership with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the Columbus 1st Platoon will work to increase food security among Southside residents through support of two programs. First, the platoon will work to improve access to emergency food assistance at three Southside pantries and one soup kitchen. Second, the platoon will support the foodbank's Southside urban farm, Clarfield Farms, and their effort to improve the well-being of residents in the Marion Franklin neighborhood. The platoon's support will improve the farm's ability to educate residents about healthy food choices, raise awareness about hunger and feed the neighborhood around the farm.

Recent Events

MLK Legacy of Service with SSCAN

with the Columbus OH 1st Service Platoon

Service Project

Reeb Avenue Center - Columbus, OH

January 18, 2020 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Strongwater Food & Spirits

with the Columbus OH 1st Service Platoon

Social Event

Strongwater Food & Spirits - Columbus, OH

December 12, 2019 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Veteran's Day - VFW Post 4931

with the Columbus OH 1st Service Platoon

Support Event

Hilliard VFW Post 4931 - Columbus, OH

November 16, 2019 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM