The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank unveiled its renovated Main Campus in Akron on Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Local leaders, campaign investors and volunteers, elected officials and board members helped the Foodbank celebrate the historic milestone.

The ceremony opened with an invocation by Love Akron’s Executive Director Kemp Boyd. Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro remarked how the Foodbank’s new food pantry and enhanced infrastructure is a “gamechanger” for the community. City of Akron Mayor Shammas Malik announced that Feb. 1 is officially recognized as Growing for Good Day with the reading of a city proclamation.

Foodbank President & CEO Dan Flowers offered a brief history on the Foodbank’s journey to this important moment in its history.

“After a decade of planning, fundraising, building projects and new program launches, with a sprinkle of a global pandemic response added in, we are thrilled that you have joined us to cut the ribbon on this space today, to formally conclude this $17.5 million investment in our region’s fight against food insecurity, and open the door to a new era in our work,” said Flowers.

The Foodbank’s capital campaign, Growing for Good: The Campaign to Reach Further and Feed More, allowed the organization to complete mission-critical renovations at the Main Campus in Akron and fund the construction of the new Stark County Campus in Canton in 2021. It now has the regional infrastructure in place to respond to food insecurity in new ways, serve the community with greater capacity and is engaging communities in both Akron and Canton, while furthering its reach with more wrap-around resources.

“We have equipped our organization to be the asset our community expects when disaster strikes, and what our community deserves on a daily basis to meet the needs of its residents,” said Colleen Benson, Foodbank vice president of development.

After recognizing the many investors who supported the campaign, the program concluded with the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon and blowing of noisemakers by all in attendance.

Guests were then invited to tour the renovated facility. They had the opportunity to see the new Venarge Family Food Pantry & Resource Center that opened on Monday and will offer fresh produce, pantry staples and other items to people in need. Families visiting the pantry will also have access to support services beyond food from Stark State College, Vantage Aging, Summit County Job and Family Services, The Well CDC, Humane Society of Summit County, UniteUs and Greenleaf Family Center. These partnerships were a direct result of feedback from residents attending the Foodbank’s drive-thru distributions. The pantry is open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am-1pm.

The Main Campus renovation also included: 
-the addition of a 10,000-square-foot welcome center, offering hunger-relief partners a safer and more efficient area to pick up their food orders; 
-doubling the cooler and freezer spaces, allowing increased storage and distribution of fresh produce, meat and dairy products;
-new community spaces and upgraded staff workspaces.

The community was extremely generous in its support of the Foodbank’s capital campaign. The construction of the Stark County Campus and renovation of the Main Campus was made possible by Leadership Investors – those who contributed $500,000 or more – and includes American Electric Power Foundation, Danbury Senior Living and Bill & Pearl Lemmon, Development Finance Authority of Summit County & Capital One, FirstEnergy Foundation, The Heather and Jeffrey Fisher Family, The Hoover Foundation, The Keith D. Monda Family, Sisters of Charity Foundation, The J.M. Smucker Company, Stark Community Foundation, Dave & Cheryl Venarge and many others.

For more information about the Foodbank, please visit