JACKSON TWP.  Most weekday mornings at 5:30 a.m., people are just thinking about getting their day started. Some may roll over and sleep another hour, while others have never seen 5:30 a.m.

Don’t tell that to a group of Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank volunteers and employees who met a group from Huntington Bank and other volunteers at 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 7 in the parking lots of Giant Eagle on The Strip in Jackson Township and Fairlawn Towne Plaza in Fairlawn.

As part of the Long Haul Against Hunger radiothon and annual food drive, The Huntington Bank volunteers started their day collecting food for those in need along side those who work at or volunteer at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. They were filling up a semi-truck trailer with food donations. People were driving up to the truck trailer and dropping off food. Plus, food donations were being accepted inside the lobby of Giant Eagle.

The food drive is part of a bigger Holiday Campaign that runs every year from the first of November through the end of December. There are various activities held in the area to encourage people to donate either money or food items. Many businesses collect monetary donations, there is a Double Your Dollar Day on Cyber Monday, Dine Out on Giving Tuesday, the Long Haul Against Hunger radiothon and the Selfless Elf 5K run a few days before Christmas.

“We are hoping to receive enough food and monetary donations from the food trucks at both locations today to provide a half a million meals,” said Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank Senior Manager, Major Partners and Corporate Relationships, Leslie Genovese said. “We’re hoping to provide seven million meals throughout the eight counties were serve from the overall campaign for this holiday season.”

At the end of the 13-hour food drive, the volunteers and radio stations collected the equivalent of 468,000 meals. Financial donations were matched by generous sponsors 415 Group, The J.M. Smucker Company and FirstEnergy Foundation. A surprise triple match by Huntington Bank, up to $5,000, was announced midway through the day.

The event on Dec. 7 also included several radio stations as part of the Foodbank’s iheartmedia partnership. The radio stations were broadcasting from both sites during the food drive. Radio personalities joined in with volunteers and sponsors to encourage people to donate either food items or give monetary donations. Stations included 98.1 WKDD, My 101.7, Rock 106.9, 99.7 Canton’s New Country, Fox Sports 1350 and 640 WHLO.

The drive went through 7 p.m. at both locations. For those who couldn’t make it to the drive but would still like to donate, visit akroncantonfoodbank.org/longhaul for all the details. Visit akroncantonfoodbank.org for complete details about the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank was formed in 1982 by a group of community leaders who made a commitment to provide emergency food to our neighbors in need. The Foodbank provides food and other essential items to member hunger-relief programs in eight Northeast Ohio counties including Carroll, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne. Member programs operate nearly 500 food pantries, hot meal sites, shelters and other hunger-relief programs in the neighborhoods and communities throughout the areas.