Press Releases

Foodbank and FirstMerit Partner to Respond to Water Crisis in Flint, MI

Jan 20, 2016

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank in collaboration with FirstMerit Bank, have assembled a quick response to support a partner food bank in Flint, MI that is currently experiencing a contaminated water crisis.

A public health emergency has been declared in Flint, MI, after tests showed the city's water supply caused elevated levels of lead in children, following months of complaints about the smell and taste.

Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank staff and volunteers loaded bottled water onto a semi-trailer for departure early Wednesday morning. The Foodbank’s trailer, carrying approximately 40,000 pounds of bottled water sourced from its Feeding America partnership, will travel to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and is scheduled to arrive later on Jan. 20, 2016.

"The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank has a long and great partnership with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint. I grew up and started my career at that Food Bank. We have shared food and ideas with one another for many years. Our hearts break for the good people of Flint that are met with this unfortunate water issue. As the Akron community has done many times before in times of crisis, we are glad to share a load of water with them during this time of need and will stand by to help more if we can," said Dan Flowers, President and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

The water donated to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan will be distributed to its network of more than 400 hunger-relief programs like food pantries, hot meal sites and shelters.

“FirstMerit has always been an active leader in disaster recovery relief, here in our hometown region and elsewhere, such as New York City after 9/11 and the East Coast following Hurricane Sandy. With so many FirstMerit employees and their families living and working in Flint, this disaster hits close to home. We are pleased to be able to help the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank by covering the transportation costs of getting all of this drinkable water to the good folks in Flint,” said Nicholas Browning, Akron Regional President at FirstMerit Bank.

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan are both members of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Feeding America is a nationwide network of food banks that provide food to virtually every community in the United States.