On Wednesday morning, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank launched the 2013 Harvest for Hunger campaign. The Akron-Canton agency’s goal is to raise $1 million in Stark, Carroll, Tuscarawas, Wayne, Holmes, Portage, Medina and Summit counties.
The Harvest for Hunger campaign got off to a rousing start Wednesday morning at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
Volunteers formed a long clapping line, flanked by shelves stacked with boxes of food stretching to the warehouse ceiling. Pompoms were pumped. Noisemakers were buzzed. Inflatable thundersticks were pounded.
They cheered and welcomed food bank supporters to the campaign kickoff event. The goal is to raise $1 million and 110,000 pounds of food. The 22nd annual Harvest for Hunger campaign runs through April.
Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, said the goal is the “the steepest hill by far we’ve ever tried to climb.”
He spoke to an audience of volunteers, business representatives, staff and other supporters. The campaign launch took place in the 85,000-square-foot warehouse.
“Let’s declare our hope and faith in the goodness that we can create,” Flowers said. “Let’s create more light and drive back more darkness, because that’s the kind of community we want to live in — a community where our love for humanity compels us to act with unrelenting goodness.”
Harvest for Hunger is a collaborative effort of four food banks serving 21 counties in Northeast Ohio.
The other participating food banks are the Cleveland Foodbank, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley and Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio.
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, a not-for-profit organization based in Akron, serves Stark, Carroll, Tuscarawas, Holmes, Wayne, Medina, Portage and Summit counties.
One in seven people in the food bank’s service area is food insecure, meaning they lack regular access to safe and nutritious food, according to the agency. One in four children in the same region lack enough food.
All of the Harvest for Hunger donations are used to provide food at no cost to local food pantries, hot meal sites and shelters with emergency food programs.
THE NEED IS GREAT
In 2012, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank distributed 20.6 million pounds of food, providing 17.2 million meals for those in need.
The Hunger for Harvest campaign includes food and fund drives and Check Out Hunger. Nearly 300 businesses, schools, community organizations and families are holding food and fund drives in March and April.
Grocery store chains are participating in Check Out Hunger, which allows shoppers to scan coupons and make donations of $1, $5 or $10. Participating stores include Buehler’s Fresh Foods, Fishers Foods and Giant Eagle. That program runs from Sunday through March 30 in the region.
Ed Roth, president and CEO of Aultman Health Foundation, is co-chair of this year’s campaign. The other co-chair is William Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital.
Page 2 of 2 - “We anticipate that the food need is going to be greater again this year, both nationally and locally,” Roth said.
Harvest for Hunger campaign
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank launched its 2013 campaign on Wednesday morning.
Tax-deductible donations are accepted at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank by phone, mail or online at www.akroncantonfoodbank.org. The agency can be reached at (330)535-6900.
Besides donations, businesses and groups can register to host a food and funds drive by registering at the website.
Hunger in Stark County
• 16.7 percent of the county’s population lacks enough food (62,860 people).
• 25.2 percent of the population‘s children don’t have enough food (21,590).
SOURCE: Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank