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Gold Star’s National Chili Day Campaign Raises $17,000 for Freestore Foodbank

Ongoing partnership raised nearly $150,000 over five years

Gold Star has made a $17,000 donation to the Freestore Foodbank’s childhood hunger programs following its fifth annual fundraising initiative that kicked off on National Chili Day in February. The money raised during the 13-day event will allow Freestore Foodbank to provide 51,000 meals for kids in our community.

Gold Star’s fundraising initiative expanded in 2021 from a one-day fundraiser to a 13-day campaign where proceeds from a special combo meal, the #13 – a Gold Star 3-way and regular size Pepsi® fountain drink – was donated to the Freestore Foodbank. The combo served as a tribute to the 13 secret spices that make up Gold Star’s famous chili as well as 13 local “Flavor Makers,” or people who advocate for Cincinnati and add flavor to the city in helping make it unique.

Gold Star’s donation will benefit the Freestore Foodbank’s childhood hunger programs, which ensure that children in food-insecure households have access to nutritious meals. This is done via the organization’s Kids Cafe, School Pantry and Power Pack programs. The Freestore Foodbank is the largest emergency food and services provider to children and families in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana, supporting 540 community partners in 20 counties.

2020 saw Freestore Foodbank distribute more than 37.7 million meals to 165,000 individuals in our neighborhoods, more than in years prior. Each Friday during the school year, the nonprofit sends Power Packs of kid-friendly items home with more than 7,000 children at 114 sites to ensure they receive the nutrition they need while away from school. Its Kids Cafe program serves more than 42,000 meals at 15 sites annually. Freestore Foodbank’s School/College Pantry program serves nearly 18,000 households by providing almost 892,000 pounds of food to 73,000 individuals across the region.

To-date, Gold Star has donated nearly $150,000 in cash and in-kind donations to the Freestore Foodbank to feed our community since the partnership began in 2017.

“2021 is the 50th anniversary of the Freestore Foodbank, an organization that is vital to the survival of so many families throughout our region. At a time when so many are in such great need, Gold Star takes pride in being able to help assist in the great, necessary service Freestore Foodbank provides to so many on a daily basis,” said Roger David, Gold Star president and CEO. “In much the same way Cincinnati-style chili is one of our proudest cultural dishes, the Freestore Foodbank is vital, vibrant organization that ensures we help those in need of a little kindness throughout our community, too.”

“We’re able to stretch every dollar raised into three meals, so this donation from Gold Star means that now we’ll be able to provide 51,000 meals to children in our community,” said Kurt Reiber, president and CEO of Freestore Foodbank. “This comes at a critical time as we’re working to ramp up our efforts in order to bridge the gap we know is coming over the summer when kids lose access to free and reduced school meals. Having enough food can become a real challenge for many families, especially those that continue to face financial hardship from the pandemic. We’re working hard to ensure that no kid in our region is hungry, and we’re grateful for donors and partners like Gold Star.”

For more information on Gold Star and its charitable causes, visit For more about the Freestore Foodbank, visit