Press Releases

Support hunger relief and local restaurants through Dine In or Dine Out to Fight Hunger

Mar 01, 2021

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank has partnered with the Tri-County Restaurant Association and Atlantic Food Distributors for a new event, Dine In or Dine Out to Fight Hunger. This online fundraiser supports hunger relief while also benefiting the local restaurant industry.

Dine In or Dine Out to Fight Hunger encourages community members interested in fighting local hunger to make an online contribution by May 1. A portion of the donation helps provide meals for the 1 in 6 individuals facing hunger in the Foodbank’s eight-county service area. In return, the community member will receive Tri-County Restaurant Association gift certificates according to their giving level. Certificates can be used at 144 restaurants at more than 160 locations throughout Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas counties.

“We rely so heavily on our generous restaurant partners. Without their support, we couldn’t provide the thousands of pounds of food to hot meal sites within our network,” said Faith Barbato, program director of Community Harvest. “The restaurants in our community have faced insurmountable challenges throughout COVID-19. We’re excited to partner with the Tri-County Restaurant Association on this mutually beneficial fundraiser.”

The new, online fundraiser will replace the annual Celebrity Cuisine event for 2021, benefiting the Foodbank’s prepared and perishable food rescue program, Community Harvest. Though this annual event is well-attended every year, with social distancing and safety measures in place, it’s not feasible to host the event in 2021.

The damage caused by COVID-19 has been far and wide with the restaurant industry sustaining one of the heaviest blows. “Many of our member restaurants are operating at 25 percent or below their normal capacity in order to abide by the strict ordinances required during the pandemic,” said Debbie Busby, president of Tri-County Restaurant Association. “The pandemic forced our member restaurants to lay off or furlough employees while a large percentage of them report they won’t be profitable for several months. It has been devastating for our industry. We hope this fundraiser will help increase both dine in and carry out traffic for our member restaurants to help them rebound in 2021.”

Proceeds from Dine In or Dine Out to Fight Hunger will help the Community Harvest program continue its work in the local community by collecting even more prepared and perishable food from restaurants, banquet facilities, caterers and hospitals and delivering it directly to hot meal sites within the Foodbank’s network of hunger-relief partners. Rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste enables the Foodbank to provide even more nourishing food options to community members struggling with hunger.

The Foodbank remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting food insecure families through its pandemic recovery efforts. Its service region has experienced a 31 percent increase in food insecurity because of COVID-19, and it’s expected to take months, if not years, for families to rebound from the financial hardships endured. The community’s support of the online fundraiser means more meals for the individuals, children and seniors facing hunger.

For more information or to contribute to Dine In or Dine Out to Fight Hunger, please visit