The reception area at the Stark County Hunger Task Force, a partner hunger-relief program of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, is quiet and tidy. Volunteers are in and out helping clients maneuver shopping carts and pack grocery bags. A volunteer smiles at the front desk, wondering if Sara has an appointment.
Clients at the Stark County Hunger Task Force sign-up for 5-minute appointments at the beginning of each day. They arrive a few minutes before their appointment time to fill out the necessary questionnaire to receive food from the pantry.
Sara takes a seat in the reception area; it’s clear she’s new to the pantry by the nervous expression on her face. She takes a moment to catch her breath. She walked to the pantry because her car has broken down, and right now she doesn’t have the money to fix it.
Sara and her two children recently moved in with family members to avoid her abusive partner. Due to the move, she lost her job and is struggling to find work. Providing the essentials is increasingly difficult, and that includes providing nutritious meals for her children. Her sister connected her with this food pantry.
When asked how the food assistance will help her family, Sara smiles shyly in appreciation.
“This place is amazing,” she said. “A lot of people, even though they’re working, don’t have the income to provide for their families and need the help. I’m relieved this place exists; I’m not struggling as much.”
A volunteer motions Sara to enter the pantry, it’s her turn to begin picking out the food items she’ll take home. She’s excited to see there is fresh produce available, her children prefer vegetables over sweets!
Before she leaves, Sara takes a pamphlet from the reception area in hopes of finding more services that could help her get back on her feet. She’s determined and motivated to provide a good future for her son and daughter.