October 31, 2014

Medina
Rain
42°F

Food drive looks to pack on 100,000 pounds

MEDINA — The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank brought its 23rd annual Harvest for Hunger campaign to Medina County on Thursday.

This year’s goal is to raise $1,035,000 and to collect 100,000 pounds of food.

Eunice Roten and her daughter, Dawn Hensler, and 4-year-old granddaughter, Jackie, represented the Storehouse food pantry of York Township’s Buckeye Christian Assembly at the start of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s 2014 Harvest for Hunger campaign. (DAVID KNOX / GAZETTE)

Eunice Roten and her daughter, Dawn Hensler, and 4-year-old granddaughter, Jackie, represented the Storehouse food pantry of York Township’s Buckeye Christian Assembly at the start of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s 2014 Harvest for Hunger campaign. (DAVID KNOX / GAZETTE)

“The Harvest for Hunger is our largest annual fundraising initiative and it’s vitally important to us,” said Daniel R. Flowers, president and CEO of the food bank.

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank supplies about 500 food pantries in eight-counties: Medina, Carroll, Holmes, Portage, Summit, Stark, Tuscarawas and Wayne.

Flowers spoke at the Medina County kickoff event, held at Sandridge Food Corp., 133 Commerce Drive.

Sandy Calvert, executive director of Feeding Medina County, attended the event and saiid the success of the fundraising drive is crucial to her group.

“The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is the foundation upon which Feeding Medina County is built,” she said. “It’s our lifeline to food.”

Calvert estimated that 70 percent of the food distributed by Feeding Medina County comes from the food bank. In addition, she said Feeding Medina County’s trucks distribute supplies from the food bank to 24 local food pantries in the county twice a week.

“We go into Akron and pick up their food order,” Calvert said. “Without us, they would have to secure their own transportation.

“We’ve become the hub for the whole county.”

Kat Pestian, communications coordinator for the food bank, said nearly 18,000 Medina County residents — about 1 in 10 — are classified as “food insecure,” according to measures used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means they lack “regular access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members” or have “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate food.”

The Harvest for Hunger drive is a collaborative effort of four food banks — Akron, Cleveland, Lorain and Youngstown — serving 21 Ohio counties.

The local campaign is being led by the heads of three food manufacturers: Sandridge President Bill Frantz; Shawn McCall, president of US Foods; and C.J. Fraleigh, chairman and CEO of Shearer’s Foods.

Frantz said he was happy to co-chair the drive.

“It’s our passion — feeding people,” Frantz said.

The Harvest for Hunger campaign begins in March and April with nearly 300 businesses, schools, community organizations and families holding food and fund drives.

Anyone interested in hosting a food and fund drive can register at the food bank’s website, www.akroncantonfoodbank.org. Donations also can be made at local grocery stores participating in Check Out Hunger, which allows shoppers to scan coupons and make donations of $1, $5 or $10 at the register.

Beginning Sunday, Check Out Hunger will be available at Buehler’s Fresh Foods, Dave’s Supermarkets, Fishers Foods, Giant Eagle, Heinen’s Fine Foods, Dunkin Donuts and Walgreens.

Every $1 donation provides four meals, food bank officials said.

Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.