AKRON, Ohio — Since its beginning, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank has distributed millions of meals every year, for the past forty years. In 1982, it began storing and distributing surplus food across eight Ohio counties.
“We are able to return such a value into the community because food is donated to us. And the dollars donated to us are what we use to bring that donated food into our community and distribute it back out to people in need,” said Dan Flowers, the President and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
Throughout the years, the foodbank honed its efforts to meet every challenge thrown at them. Even during the pandemic, when the foodbank began its drive thru food distributions. They partnered with DoorDash to deliver food to homebound people.
These programs continue today, while the foodbank faces bigger obstacles.
“I honestly don’t believe there has ever been a more challenging and difficult time for America’s foodbanks then right now,” said Flowers
Continued supply chain issues have impacted the amount of surplus food. Along with inflation, it is putting the squeeze on foodbanks and the people they help.
“We are down in some categories over 30 percent in food donations. At the same time the demand for food, through the foodbank and our network of charities, is up 19 percent compared to last year,” stated Flowers.
Thanks to the community, there is a brighter side. Last year a brand-new foodbank up in Canton. The Akron warehouse had begun an expansion project that will increase its capacity. Both a part of the “Growing for Good” campaign.
“The community has been so generous they have sustained us over the years. I believe the community as a whole sees the value in trying to make sure people don’t go hungry in this community. And that is essentially what our mission is,” said Flowers.
Forty years of service, through the simple act of giving food to those who need it.
“It is amazing the way just having a box of groceries available to give some one kind of when they are in that moment is an affirmation on the value that their life matters and that they are loved, and they are not alone in the world,” said Flowers. “I really do think that the transaction isn’t just about food.”
For Flowers it is an act of love.
“I would say, if no one has told you that they love you today, I want you to know that the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank loves you,” said Flowers.