On March 1, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank will kick off the 33rd annual Harvest for Hunger Campaign with a community luncheon at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron. Community members interested in learning more about the Campaign and how they can get involved are encouraged to attend. Tickets can be purchased at akroncantonfoodbank.org/rsvp.

The luncheon hopes to inspire community members, businesses and organizations to rally together to support local hunger relief. Groups are encouraged to collect food and funds for the Foodbank from March through May. Resource kits will be available for guests ready to collect donations on behalf of the Foodbank.

This year’s Campaign goal is to provide the equivalent of 4.2 million meals for the communities served within the Foodbank’s eight-county service area, including $1.4 million and 100,000 pounds of food.

Last year the Foodbank and its network of hunger-relief partners served a record number of people. More than 3 million visits were made to the network, and there was a 31% increase in people visiting food pantries alone.

“Families are struggling as costs for basic necessities remain high,” said Dan Flowers, Foodbank president and CEO. “Families that need help stretching their budgets can pay their utility bills, rent and buy their kids’ shoes as a result of the food they receive from our network. In this way we fight hunger and poverty at the same time. We can continue to serve our neighbors facing hunger, but we need the community’s support. The Harvest for Hunger Campaign is a critical tool for us – so we hope the community rallies behind it again this year.”

Luncheon guests will have the opportunity to hear from Joree Novotny, the executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. She will offer insight into the state of food insecurity across Ohio and how the community can work together to serve its residents. Flowers will highlight the Foodbank’s impact in 2023 and discuss how last year was one of the largest years in the organization’s history.

Guests will also hear from honorary campaign co-chair Mark Sterling, CEO of The Beaver Excavating Company, and co-chair Laura Duda, senior vice president and chief communications officer at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Harvest for Hunger is the Foodbank’s largest fundraising campaign and helps support food distribution all year long. Support and engagement from the community helps ensure families struggling with hunger have a place to turn during their time of need.

The Harvest for Hunger Campaign unites the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Second Harvest Food Banks of the Mahoning Valley and North Central Ohio. The four food banks in Northeast Ohio focus on fighting hunger across 21 counties in the region.

To reserve a ticket for the luncheon, please visit akroncantonfoodbank.org/rsvp. For more information on the Campaign, visit akroncantonfoodbank.org/harvest.

Thank you to event title sponsors: Beaver Constructor’s, Energy Harbor, Huntington National Bank, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, NJM Insurance Group, Catherine & Hyun Park (FirstEnergy) and State and Federal Communications.