Local couple make lasting impact on hunger relief

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank has seen an outpouring of support from the community throughout the pandemic, helping it quickly and effectively respond to the increase in need from local families struggling with hunger.

Harry and Cathy have been long-time supporters of the Foodbank’s hungerr-elief efforts. They’re members of the Sustainer Circle, donating monthly through automatic, electronic payments.

“We like to give to the Foodbank because it can do so much more with a dollar – donations are used wisely and they multiply,” explained Cathy.

Supporting the fight against hunger is a cause that’s extremely personal for the couple. Harry shares stories from his childhood about preparing ketchup sandwiches, cornmeal skillets or dousing bread with milk for dinner.

Harry’s dad, a house-framing carpenter, had steady work when weather was agreeable; his mother cleaned homes. During the winter, their local grocery store would extend his family a credit so they could eat.

Cathy describes Harry’s story as having a powerful impact on her, and that she has always been surrounded by people facing hardships. As a teacher and then a pastor for 20 years, she’s fielded many phone calls from families seeking help. One of the churches she worked at organized its own food pantry for local families.

“Parents choosing not to eat to provide for their children— to see the struggle; it was heart-wrenching.”

Though years have passed since Cathy has retired, she had the very same feeling of sorrow as she saw the lines of people waiting for food because of COVID-19. She believes the coronavirus has raised the community’s awareness of how closely families live paycheck to paycheck.

To help offer hope to families facing hunger, the couple recently established a charitable gift annuity (CGA) for the Foodbank. A CGA will provide them partially tax-free and fixed payments during their lifetime. CGAs terminate when the donor(s) passes away, and the Foodbank receives the residual funds.

For more information on CGAs, please contact Debra Hagarty at 330.535.6900