Tom and Susan Young with Father Robert (Bob) Obermeyer in front of the Blue Ash Police Station and Municipal Building

Northeast Emergency Distribution Services (NEEDS) is a cooperative group of concerned community churches and civic organizations whose mission is to do God’s work of caring for neighbors by providing basic emergency assistance.  NEEDS began in the early 1980’s as a clothes and toy swap with the help of Marysue Dickman and Pastor Don Leckrone of the Blue Ash Presbyterian Church.

And that’s when Symmes Township resident Susan Young’s story begins…

“It was 1982, I can remember it like it was yesterday,” said Susan. “Father Robert (Bob) Obermeyer, the Pastor at All Saints Catholic Church and a childhood friend of my husband, was supposed to go to a Saturday organizational meeting for NEEDS but he had another obligation, so he sent me!”

At the time Susan was a very involved young mother of four but from that first meeting, she was touched by the desire to serve, wanting to be part of developing NEEDS.

“Ronald Reagan was president. In one of his speeches he emphasized that people need to help people; it’s not the government’s job,” explained Susan. “NEEDS members met the challenge by creating a food pantry to help neighbors-in-need. Today it is so much more.”

After that first meeting additional churches and civic groups signed-on, each taking a month to serve. At Lent Father Bob called for a second collection to go to NEEDS. This collection continues today.

As the years passed the NEEDS food pantry moved from Blue Ash Presbyterian to Blue Ash Police Station and finally to its current home at Kenwood Baptist Church. NEEDS is a community of 25 churches and civic organizations with an all-volunteer cooperative food pantry. In addition to overseeing an active food-bank, NEEDS collects schools supplies in August and does a hat, glove and sock drive in winter. NEEDS also provides housing, utility, and water payment assistance.

“Nowadays, Father Dennis Jaspers is in charge of NEEDS for All Saints Catholic Church and our 2018 second collection at Lent yielded approximately $5,000. I couldn’t be prouder of my parish,” exclaimed Susan.

Susan has held nearly every position on the NEEDS board. Her most treasured role has been running the “Adopt a Family” program where volunteers provide for needy families at Christmas. Often times the volunteers continue to help their adopted families. “Adopt a Family” has touched Susan and her husband of 53 years, Tom, as they’ve helped families and witnessed donors making extraordinary contributions. Susan has fed the hungry, held hands with those who are ill and found other families to assist with their children. Tom has found unemployed adults jobs and assisted Susan as she delivered meals, gifts and care. Together they laud the generosity of a special donor who even provided housing. The Youngs feel so blessed to have been instrumental in “Adopt a Family”.

With so many charitable organizations “Adopt a Family” has become a smaller, more limited program. But Susan and Tom are still helping. This year Susan and Tom celebrate nearly 37 year of volunteering with NEEDS. Their family has grown to include 7 grandchildren and yet Susan still manages to assist past clients and new clients with their care. Susan’s newest responsibility is to coordinate NEEDS with the Saint Vincent DePaul (SVDP) Conferences in the NEEDS area and provides assistance for mutual clients. The partnership between NEEDS and SVDP has given many people long-term assistance.

It is volunteers like Susan Young who have helped shape NEEDS to what it is today.

The NEEDS Food Pantry is YOUR neighborhood food-bank, its local, its convenient and it cares for your neighbors-in-need within the school district lines of Sycamore Schools, Madeira Schools, Princeton Schools and Deer Park Schools. From its inception through today, while serving more than 2,000 in northeast Hamilton County, NEEDS helps others without taking government assistance.

If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, why not follow the lead of Susan Young?

Any individual or group can collect canned goods, other non-perishable food items including school supplies, diapers, cleaning items (both household and personal) and feminine hygiene products or they can raise monetary funds for NEEDS. Items that are most urgent include: canned fruits and vegetables, beans, prepared foods (tuna, peanut butter, jelly, cereal and spaghetti sauce. Did you know that toilette paper, feminine products, diapers and personal and household soaps are not covered by food stamps? NEEDS does its best to help our neighbors in need. Like Susan Young, you too can make a difference in your neighborhood and the world.

The NEEDS food pantry is located at the Kenwood Baptist Church, 8341 Kenwood Road, 45236 and is open Tuesday and Thursdays from 9 am – 1 pm. Donations of canned goods and other items are always accepted at the NEEDS food pantry. Monetary gifts can be mailed to: NEEDS, 8341 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45236. For pick-up of donated items or to ask questions please call (513)891-0850 (NEEDS) or checkout NEEDS website:



Comments are closed.