Early Days

In the early 1970s Jewel Davis Smith founded a food pantry at the Northside United Methodist Church in response to her pastor’s sermon. Food and clothing donations were distributed to those in need. After her death in 1991, the Northside churches, which supported Jewel’s food pantry, formalized their association and incorporated CAIN as a 501c3 nonprofit in 1992.

New Home

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church purchased a former beauty salon on Hamilton Avenue to provide a permanent home for CAIN. CAIN moved from the United Methodist Church to its present location in June 2000. A 2,000-square-foot addition opened in May 2002. The addition increased CAIN’s capacity to serve 200+ households per month. In 2006 CAIN converted its food pantry to the best practice model of a choice pantry, where guests choose their own food.

Ministry Extended

In 2010, CAIN expanded its hospitality ministry to include Phil’s Place, a weekly free community meal where an average of 65 community members are served by a dedicated team of volunteers from area churches and service organizations. In 2014, CAIN again expanded its hospitality ministry by assuming responsibility for the Grace Place Catholic Worker Community in College Hill. In collaboration with Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), Grace Place provides shelter for families in transition from homelessness.

Campus Expansion

A faithful donor, Annette Liebing, made a generous bequest in June 2015 that helped CAIN launch an effort to realize its long-held dream of expanded community engagement by purchasing the house next door to its Northside ministry center. With significant donations from individuals and local foundations, The Hospitality House – Annette’s Place -- is becoming a reality in 2019. Renovations include conversion of first and second floors into programming space, a food storage pantry expansion, and grounds improvement. This will improve and increase healthy food offerings, including fresh produce and refrigerated foods. Having extra space creates opportunities for new partners to offer other supportive services, targeted for households at or below 200% poverty level. WordPlay, will be the first nonprofit to move to the new building, providing creative outlets for children with programming that complements CAIN’s work in the community.


Thirteen member churches, from six Cincinnati-area communities, support CAIN with board members, financial help, and volunteers. For 10 consecutive years, CAIN has been highly ranked and received the Top-Rated Award designation from GreatNonprofits, based on reviews from guests, volunteers, donors and other stakeholders. In 1993, CAIN’s pantry served 70 families each month and more than 350 families monthly in 2018. Grace Place welcomed 58 families (65 adults and 97 children) in 2018 and Phil’s Place served over 5000 hot meals.

© Churches Active in Northside 2009-2023