MEDINA — Julie Goodson picked up fresh peaches and potatoes as she pushed a cart around a small market set up outside Medina County Job and Family Services on Thursday morning.
But when she was done shopping, there was no cash register in sight.
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank trucked in more than 14,000 pounds of food that was available to qualifying individuals free of charge Thursday.
Goodson, a Wadsworth resident who lost her job earlier this year, said the food distribution event was a godsend.
“I have $10 in my pocket and $12 in the bank,” she said, tears welling.
She said her situation is looking brighter because she started a new job this week, and the food will help until she gets her first paycheck, she said.
“This is unbelievable,” she said as she finished shopping.
The food bank reported about 350 individuals made their way through the drop-off event Thursday, which means the food will reach about 900 county residents.
This is the first time the food bank has held such a direct distribution in the county. Previously, the only way food reached the county was through 16 local food pantries whose volunteers traveled to the food bank’s Akron warehouse to pick it up. Local fundraising efforts have helped procure a refrigerated truck. The truck, operated by the new nonprofit Feeding Medina County Initiative, makes weekly runs to the food bank to bring items back to the local food pantries.
In addition, the food bank will be coming to Medina County for monthly drop-offs like the one Thursday. A second monthly drop-off is expected to begin soon in Seville. The next distribution in Medina is scheduled for Sept. 23.
Job and Family Services Director Mead Wilkins said the drop-off event is a big help for Medina County’s poor. Not only does it help lower grocery bills, it raises nutrition awareness.
“Cheap food tends to be not good for you,” Wilkins said, noting part of the agency’s mission is to teach clients the value of healthy foods.
“By giving people good fruits and vegetables that are fresh and Ohio grown, hopefully we can move that along,” he said.
On Thursday, the food bank brought fresh produce it has purchased from local farmers using a state grant.
Medina County Commissioner Pat Geissman said she was pleasantly surprised by the high turnout Thursday.
“And I think we will have even more people here as the word gets out,” Geissman said.
Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.