Akron- Canton Regional Foodbank | Nonprofit spotlight

For more than 180,000 Ohioans each year, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is all that stands between them and hunger. One in six Ohioans struggles with hunger. One in four children doesn’t know where his or her next meal will come from.

For more than 180,000 Ohioans each year, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is all that stands between them and hunger. One in six Ohioans struggles with hunger. One in four children doesn’t know where his or her next meal will come from.

Roughly translated, 95,000 kids in the Foodbank’s eight-county service area don’t have regular access to food.

“Hunger is an urgent problem in our community,” said Dan Flowers, president and chief executive officer of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “In spite of reports of a recovering economy, the fact is too many people are continuing to struggle to find work and make ends meet. Many individuals share with us that at one time they made financial donations to the Foodbank or volunteered — but today they are reaching out to us for support.”

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank provides an operationally efficient and exclusive service in the local fight against hunger. As one of 200 food banks across the country, it is affiliated with Feeding America and is one of 12 food banks in Ohio.

It provides 57,000 meals each day to families facing hunger by partnering with charities that facilitate hunger relief programs in Summit, Stark, Medina, Wayne, Tuscarawas, Portage, Holmes and Carroll counties. The food distributed through the Foodbank’s network provides a critical source of nutrition for a broad cross section of the community, including children, the working poor, single-parent families, the newly unemployed and the elderly.

Each week, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank receives donations from local donors, corporate food donors, the State of Ohio, the USDA and Feeding America.

These donations include canned and boxed foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as personal care items. Every day member agencies place food orders and pick up these orders at the warehouse.

The agencies provide this food through their hunger-relief programs to the hungry in their community or neighborhood.

The foodbank attributes the distribution of 19.4 million pounds of food in 2011 to the collaboration and support from corporations, foundations and individuals who believe their mission to feed people and fight hunger is nonnegotiable.

The challenge of the organization is to ensure that the community has access to ample food and other essential grocery products to provide for the region’s most vulnerable citizens.

“The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is unique in the services it provides to our region,” said Flowers. “As the backbone of the charitable response to hunger across eight Northeast Ohio counties, the Foodbank sourced and distributed over 19 million dollars worth of food and grocery items to as many as 180,000 struggling individuals in 2011.”

ABOUT AKRON-CANTON REGIONAL FOODBANK

WHAT: A nonprofit organization with a mission to “Feed People and Fight Hunger.” The Foodbank provides food and other essential items to more than 460 hunger-relief programs, such as food pantries, shelters and hot-meal sites in Carroll, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties. In 2011, the Foodbank provided 14.9 million meals locally for people in need of food. For more information visit: www.akroncantonfoodbank.org or www.facebook.com/akroncantonfoodbank.

BOARD MEMBERS: George Sarkis, chairman; Richard Wilson, vice chairman; Patricia Gibbs, treasurer; Mark Purtilar, secretary; and Shelly Allio, Robert Bender, Chris Coughlin, James Deluca, Michael J. Dowling, Lia Easler, Kristin Hannon, Suzanne Hobson, Michael Lapides, Michael Moldvay, Pamela Simpson, Bernett Williams, Jan Wojno, and Daniel R. Flowers, president and CEO.

PROCEEDS: Help keep food on the plates of thousands of men, women and children in its eight-county service area struggling with hunger.

DONATIONS: Send to Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, 350 Opportunity Parkway, Akron OH 44307-2234.