AKRON  The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank has recently implemented a senior box program, aimed at distributing nourishing boxes of food to low-income residents of Medina, Wayne, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas counties who are 60 years old and older.

The Foodbank’s goal is to improve the nutrition of older low-income individuals by enrolling them in the senior box program, also known as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). The Foodbank kicked off the program in March and is serving more than 600 seniors each month.

Each box contains an assortment of food including cereal, juice, canned items like vegetable and fruit, shelf-stable milk, pasta, cheese, and a variety of proteins like meat and peanut butter.

"The most vulnerable populations we see struggling with hunger, like senior citizens, are making decisions every day about paying for necessary medications or buying groceries," said Dan Flowers, president & CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, in a news release. "Seniors in particular are at increased risk for chronic health conditions, and it is our hope that this program will bring them the nutrients they need for a healthier life."

Food for this program is provided through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because of the nature of funding for the program, the continuation is based upon future state approval. The Foodbank will seek continued support for CSFP from Congress as they begin preparation for the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Foodbank’s network of hunger-relief partners participating in the program include: Meals on Wheels of Stark and Wayne Counties, Open M, Sarah’s House, Green Good Neighbors, Grace Fellowship, North Canton Church of Christ, Barberton Area Community Ministries, Lodi Family Center, Heart to Heart Ministries and Journey’s End Ministries.

"This is an ideal way for Meals on Wheels to support the well-being of nutritionally at-risk individuals. We know the impact nutrition has on one’s health, and for individuals to receive nutrition in the form of affordable, nonperishable, and healthy foods is extremely beneficial," said Ted Watko, CEO of Meals on Wheels of Stark & Wayne Counties, in a news release. "Beyond providing another essential service to current clients, this has also been a great opportunity to introduce new individuals to Meals on Wheels and its other available services. We are working hard to make sure anyone in need of assistance knows we are here to help."

To learn more about the senior box program, please contact Erica Banks, Program Services Connector at ebanks@acrfb.org or 330-572-3101.