The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is extremely grateful to call Dave and Cheryl Venarge good friends. Their extensive commitment to hunger relief compelled them to make a significant donation to the Foodbank’s capital campaign, with the new onsite food pantry at the Main Campus in Akron being named in their family's honor. Dave and Cheryl also established an endowment fund, helping to ensure their faithful support to the Foodbank will continue in perpetuity.

The new pantry, now open, is named The Venarge Family Food Pantry & Resource Center. It will serve families with groceries and other support services through community partnerships.

“Having the pantry named after our family is a legacy we can be very proud of, all the way through our grandchildren and those who come after them,” said Cheryl.

The Venarge’s passion for fighting hunger runs deep. Both growing up in single-parent homes, Dave and Cheryl know firsthand how important it is to have access to nourishing, consistent food. Cheryl, though retired, has made it her personal mission to feed school children in the Akron Public School district. On a Saturday morning, you can find Cheryl, her family and friends packing 200 weekend food bags for children they’ll never meet. Sourcing the food, packing and delivering the bags — Cheryl does it all.

“Finding food for kids keeps us busy! We talk about food insecurity a lot — this is what we do. It’s a part of our lives,” she said.

You can also find Cheryl at the Foodbank’s Main Campus in Akron a few times per month. She is a dedicated volunteer who has helped in the warehouse, at drive-thru distributions, and is someone we rely heavily on for administrative support. She also plans to be a regular, friendly face in the new food pantry.

The Venarges have passed their philanthropic spirit to their children and six granddaughters. It’s become an annual tradition for the girls, now ages 12 to 21, to convene at the Akron Community Foundation to help determine what organizations their grandparents grant money to each year. They receive grant proposals and hear presentations on each charity before deciding which charities to support. They have also visited some of the organizations to see their impact firsthand.

“We think it’s very important for the children to be aware of their surroundings — to see firsthand what is going on in their community,” said Dave.

Our community is lucky to have such a generous and dedicated couple like Dave and Cheryl who are willing to support local causes both financially and with their time and talents. Thank you, Dave and Cheryl, for making a significant impact on hunger in our community!