Press Releases

Foodbank recruits volunteers as Ohio National Guard members depart

Neighborhood Distribution Volunteers

Oct 08, 2020

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is searching for dedicated community members interested in volunteering at its grocery distributions. As Ohio National Guard members begin to leave the Foodbank and return to their civilian lives, the Foodbank needs help supplementing their efforts.

To help local families deal with lost and/or decreased wages caused by the pandemic, the Foodbank increased the frequency of its Neighborhood Distribution. The distribution is held at its warehouse on Opportunity Parkway in downtown Akron and serves between 700 to 1,000 families.

The Foodbank has been working since March to develop distribution procedures that maximize the ability to distribute food in the safest possible way for volunteers and staff. The Neighborhood Distribution is a drive-thru style distribution that requires guests to remain in their vehicles while volunteers and staff load their trunks with boxes of produce, dairy, frozen meat and shelf stable food items. Volunteers assist in greeting and registering guests, loading vehicles with groceries and assisting with traffic control.

“Volunteering at our distribution is a tangible and impactful way for community members to directly serve our neighbors struggling with hunger,” said Cody Stanley, Foodbank programs coordinator. “Volunteers offer a friendly smile and encouraging words for families affected by the pandemic – families simply trying to put food on the table for their kids. We often see people in the lowest point in their lives and it’s because of our volunteers and the kindness they offer that people feel hope for the future. We hope they realize they’re not in this alone.”

On Sept. 30 more than a dozen National Guard members completed their 6-month service term at the Foodbank, many began serving with the organization in late March. Guard members will slowly continue to transition back to their everyday lives, with all members gone by the end of the year.

“With the help of the Guard, we’ve been able to finetune and streamline our Neighborhood Distribution process so that it’s quick and easy to set up, enjoyable for staff and volunteers, and reduces the wait time for guests needing groceries. They’ve become integral members of our emergency response efforts and our Foodbank family and we couldn’t be more grateful for their service,” said Foodbank President and CEO Dan Flowers. “But these distributions require the help of many, that’s why we’re seeking help from the community as our friends from the Guard begin to return to their regular jobs.”

If interested in volunteering at the Foodbank’s Neighborhood Distribution, please email or call 330.535.6900. Volunteers should have the ability to lift approximately 30 pounds and be comfortable in inclement weather as this opportunity takes place outside, rain or shine. Volunteers are needed from 1:30pm-4:30pm on the following dates: Oct. 22, Dec. 3 and Dec. 22.