One year ago this month, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank opened its new Stark County Campus in Canton. Foodbank staff celebrated the anniversary by inviting volunteers, hunger-relief programs and community resource partners to an open house today. 

Foodbank President and CEO Dan Flowers welcomed the group, sharing how important the collective work of the community has been as it attempts to support local families rebounding from the pandemic.

“The facility opened in year two of the pandemic, providing greater adaptability and accessibility when our community needed us the most,” he said. “With increased capacity for food storage, closer proximity to our southern partners, an onsite food pantry, and collaborations with community agencies offering meaningful services for local families, the Stark County Campus helps your Foodbank combat food insecurity in the region.”

But skyrocketing food prices have made it harder for families facing hunger to access enough nourishing food. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it costs families 10% more to buy groceries this year. Low-income households spend nearly one-third of their budgets on food.

“We’re seeing an increase in families needing help with groceries,” said Leslie Genovese, regional director of the Stark County Campus. “For the Foodbank’s eight-county service region, visits to food pantries within our network have increased by 11% compared to last year. But the Stark County Campus, our Main Campus in Akron, and the 600 food programs within our network are here to help.”

Genovese highlighted some of the impactful work taking place at the Foodbank’s Stark County Campus:

  • The onsite food pantry served approximately 9,600 families with 285,000 pounds of food in its first year.
  • More than 6.3 million pounds of food was distributed from the Stark County Campus warehouse through 3,600 hunger-relief partner pickups.
  • Nearly a dozen cooking demonstrations hosted in the campus kitchen showed food programs, community members and staff how to make simple, nourishing meals with food from the Foodbank.
  • The new campus welcomed more than 1,500 volunteers who donated 14,000 hours of service.
  • New partnerships with five area nonprofits provided 155 sessions, offering health screenings, education and referrals, legal services, job assistance and more to community members.

The Stark County Campus is the culmination of the Foodbank’s strategic plan to help ensure all individuals within the eight counties it serves have access to safe and nourishing food. The new facility has increased regional capacity for fresh food distribution, expanded the Foodbank’s reach in communities of need, and engaged new volunteers in local hunger-relief efforts.

For more information about the Stark County Campus, please click here.