The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank welcomed 350 guests to its annual Harvest for Hunger Campaign kick-off breakfast. Enthusiastic energy filled the ballroom at the John S. Knight Center today as community members rallied in support of the 31st annual Campaign. Last year’s kick off was held virtually, so supporters were happy to gather together once again. The kickoff was also streamed live for those wanting to participate virtually. 

This year’s goal is to provide the equivalent of 4.6 million meals, including $1.13 million and 100,000 pounds of food. All proceeds from the Campaign go directly to providing free food for the local community, distributed through the Foodbank’s network of more than 600 pantries, hot meal sites, shelters, backpack and after-school programs and other hunger-relief programs.

The Campaign is led by co-chairs Sam Falletta, CEO of Incept, and Bernett L. Williams, vice president, external affairs at Akron Children’s Hospital. They encouraged guests to support the Campaign by coordinating food and funds drives, participating in Check Out Hunger, the donation collection that takes place in many local supermarkets, through employee giving campaigns and by volunteering.

Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Foodbank, reflected on the Foodbank’s pandemic response and recovery efforts, including its drive-thru food distributions that served thousands and the support received from the Ohio National Guard. He also highlighted new initiatives, including a delivery program for its hunger-relief partners, an innovative food delivery program to residents’ homes in partnership with DoorDash and United Way of Summit & Medina, and a mobile, pop-up pantry that takes food to neighborhoods with limited food resources.

“We’ve handed out hundreds of thousands of masks and truckloads of hand sanitizer. We’ve set up vaccine clinics at our food distributions, helped people register to vote, connected new moms to childcare services, partnered with community legal aid to help empower pantry visitors and so, so much more,” said Flowers. “We couldn’t do this work without you. And we couldn’t do this work without your support of the Harvest for Hunger Campaign. This campaign directly impacts that work. With so much at stake, our focus on this community campaign must be clear and present.”
The Harvest for Hunger Campaign is the Foodbank’s largest fundraising initiative and helps support food distribution all year long. In addition to raising needed funds and food items for the Foodbank’s eight-county service area, the Campaign hopes to educate the community on the tough choices people struggling with hunger are often forced to make, like choosing between groceries and paying for utilities, medical care, transportation costs and housing. 

The Campaign is a collaborative partnership between the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Mahoning Valley and the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio and focuses on fighting hunger across 21 counties in Northeast Ohio.

The breakfast also celebrated the organization’s 40th anniversary and included a video with key community stakeholders who helped start the Foodbank in 1982.

If interested in participating in the 2022 Harvest for Hunger Campaign, please visit