The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank hosted a socially-distant beam signing open house to commemorate the work completed so far on its new Stark County Campus. Individuals and organizations who have supported Growing for Good: The Campaign to Reach Further and Feed More had the opportunity to sign a 24-foot steel beam that will be installed in the lobby of the new facility.
Due to social distancing guidelines, the open house wasn’t the typical Foodbank celebration. Though masks were worn by all, you could see the excitement as attendees walked around the jobsite and viewed the 3-D model in the construction trailer. Construction of the new facility has begun; the foundation of the building is beginning to take shape as block has been laid and dirt moved. Completion is set for summer 2021 with doors opening to the public in the fall 2021.
“The purpose of a project like this is to create something that endures beyond ourselves, a resource, a blessing, a service of love we cast out into the future,” said Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Foodbank. “When you write your name in history, do it with that in mind. Your life energy, your work, your hope is captured in that signature.”
Community leaders, major investors, elected officials, Foodbank board members, campaign cabinet members and hunger-relief partners were invited to sign the beam. For those unable to sign the beam in person, supporters are encouraged to virtually sign the beam at Growing4Good.org/beam. For any donation made, community members can leave a lasting legacy for future Foodbank generations. The names of supporters who virtually sign the beam will be printed on the beam.
Growing for Good, launched in February, has raised $10.9 million of the $11.5 million goal. The capital campaign will fund the building of the new Stark County Campus in Canton and will help support expansion at the Akron facility. Dependent on community support, the campaign will increase the Foodbank’s capacity to source and distribute even more food to the eight counties it serves.
Referencing years of research, the Foodbank recognizes there are still families going without food in Carroll, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties. With the effects of COVID-19 being felt by families all across the region, this number has drastically increased. According to Feeding America, the Foodbank’s service area has seen an estimated 42 percent increase in the amount of people facing food insecurity due to COVID-19.
Despite the millions of meals distributed by the Foodbank and its network last year, a Meal Gap still exists. But the Foodbank’s current warehouse has reached its maximum capacity, limiting its ability to increase distribution and therefore, leaving families in the community at risk of hunger. The successful completion of Growing for Good will enable the Foodbank to move closer to its vision of a thriving community free of hunger.