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Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank honors its volunteers at annual celebration

Apr 11, 2018

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank celebrated with nearly 200 of its closest friends at the volunteer celebration event held on April 10, 2018. The annual event recognizes the dedication and support of the Foodbank’s extensive volunteer force and is held during national volunteer month. In 2017, it hosted nearly 12,000 volunteers who donated more than 67,000 hours of service, the equivalent of 32 full-time employees.

The celebration, held in the warehouse, was transformed from the hustling tow motor traffic and pallets of food, with a sandwich wrap and tater tot food truck, cotton candy spinner and a DJ. There was no need for volunteers to put on gloves or wear their aprons; the event was strictly a party, no work allowed!

An awards ceremony highlighted volunteers who donated more than 100+ hours of service in 2017, or 25+ volunteer visits with the Foodbank. These volunteers were recognized with personalized aprons based on their commitment level, or pins if they’ve already earned their apron.

The ceremony also recognized three categories of award winners – Corporate Volunteer Group of the Year, Organizational Volunteer Group of the Year and Individual Volunteer of the Year.

The corporate volunteer award went to Starbucks. Starbucks donated more than 220 hours of volunteer service in 2017, helping sort and repack the equivalent of 20,880 meals for our neighbors facing food insecurity. Through various food drives and campaigns, they also collected more than 27,000 pounds of food.

Recently, Starbucks and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, in partnership with Feeding America®, launched the Starbucks FoodShare program. FoodShare is a ground-breaking partnership in which Starbucks donates nourishing, unsold food product that would otherwise go to landfills.

This new, perishable food rescue initiative donated more than 9,400 pounds of food in 2017. With donations from 19 local Starbucks locations, the program is estimated to provide 52,000 meals annually.

“Starbucks has been an incredible partner to us over the years and they deserve to be recognized,” said Dan Flowers, president & CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “We’re proud to partner with them on this new initiative. The FoodShare program is sparing food from landfills, providing meals to people who struggle with food insecurity, and helping increase awareness of the issue of hunger. The program exemplifies what we can accomplish when we work together.”

The organizational volunteer group award went to The University of Akron. They had more than 400 volunteers from various departments serve at the Foodbank last year, and they are dedicated, hands-on supporters. They helped disseminate more than 29,800 meals to individuals in need through their volunteer efforts and gave approximately 1,200 hours of service.

The individual volunteer award went to Dan Horning. Horning started volunteering at the Foodbank in 2015, and quickly became passionate about its mission and helping people in need. Each year his hours of service continue to increase; he spent nearly 500 hours volunteering last year, visiting the Foodbank three times per week!

“Dan is a beloved member of our Foodbank family, always eager to help, and is dedicated to helping fight hunger in our area,” said Tasha Ledrich, volunteer leader at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “He has a quiet, consistent spirit, and he brings a smile with him each time he comes in.”

The awards ceremony ended by honoring the Foodbank’s Hunger Heroes, students with developmental disabilities from area high schools. In 2017, they served more than 1,700 hours of service.

“They are detail-oriented and dedicated rays of sunshine that volunteer at least once a week for nine months out of the year,” said Angela Kemper, volunteer center supervisor. “We provide them with job training and they provide us with lots of energy, smiles and much appreciated volunteer help.”

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