Press Releases

Foodbank announces strategic plan aimed at providing access to food for everyone struggling with hunger in its community

May 19, 2016

Launched in September of 2014 amidst times of growth and complexity in the hunger-relief system, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and more than 100 community partners crafted a process and spent a year developing a new five-year strategic plan.

Foodbank 2020, the Foodbank’s multi-tiered strategic plan aims to provide access to enough food for everyone struggling with hunger in its 8-county service area.

But how? By closing the meal gap.

The meal gap is the difference between the number of meals that are needed by the members of the community, and the number of meals that they can access.

Every year in Northeast Ohio, individuals and children are missing 41 million meals and turn to the Foodbank and its network of hunger-relief partners for support. In 2015, the Foodbank and its network provided access to 23 million meals. In addition, the Foodbank’s network of partners provided an extra 6 million meals through local relationships.

Despite this food safety net, 12 million meals are still missing—the meal gap. But for the first time, the Foodbank is putting a stake in the ground to reduce half of the meal gap in the communities it serves by 2020, and closing the meal gap entirely by 2025.

In addition to closing the meal gap, with the goal of thinking innovatively about how the Foodbank can have the greatest impact on food security locally, four main strategic initiatives were developed:

Goal 1: To provide enough food for all 

  • Each county is unique, and therefore requires unique responses to hunger-relief. This goal will allow the Foodbank to strengthen relationships in its 8-county service area and will create opportunities for the Foodbank to develop and implement new effective and efficient methods for the distribution of food.

Goal 2: To leverage food as a community catalyst

  • Food is at the core of the Foodbank’s mission, but to advance the health of the communities it serves, this goal focuses on the necessity to go beyond food and collaborate around addressing issues connected to food insecurity.

Goal 3: To be connected in service

  • This goal emphasizes the Foodbank being focused on building a strong, sustainable, collaborative network within the communities it serves in order to optimize its collective work.

Goal 4: To strengthen the community asset

  • The Foodbank belongs to its community. This goal focuses on building and maintaining an organization for the future while enhancing internal infrastructures and operating systems to sustain the organization today and support growth for tomorrow.

“The Foodbank’s promise to you is that distributing food will remain the heart and soul of our mission,” said Flowers. “This work is a collective result of more than 100 people who shared their wisdom and personal visions. We invite you to be a part of the future work that is thread throughout this plan. The accomplishments we’re looking towards making in the next five years will be possible because of your support and commitment.”

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