The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank announced the launch of its $11.5 million capital campaign in the lobby of The Canton Repository on Feb. 20. Surrounded by community leaders, campaign volunteers, elected officials, board members and early donors, President and CEO Dan Flowers shared the Foodbank’s vision of a hunger-free community and how a successful campaign will help achieve this vision.
Growing for Good: The Campaign to Reach Further and Feed More will help fund the building of a new Foodbank facility 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.
Flowers urged community members to support the campaign by visiting Growing4Good.org.
“We need your help in reaching our bold goal, in ensuring that no family in Northeast Ohio faces hunger,” said Flowers. “We’re $3 million away from achieving our vision of a hunger-free future. Gifts of all sizes are needed, and we hope the community will stand with us, lock arms, and turn this dream into a reality.”
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. Despite the millions of meals distributed in 2019, 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 Foodbank envisions a world where there’s enough food for everyone and there is easy access to healthy and affordable foods for our community members. Hunger is a solvable problem – and we have the answer,” said Flowers. “This campaign is a significant investment in our community’s future. With your collective support, we will change the history of hunger relief.”
William Shivers, president of The Huntington National Bank’s Canton and Mahoning Valley regions and Foodbank board chair, and Janelle Lee, director of client engagement for MAGNET, are serving as the campaign co-chairs.
“I want to help create resources, opportunities and solutions for hunger relief,” said Lee. “I believe in and support the mission, vision and goals of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and will do what I can to be an advocate and help fight against hunger.”
The co-chairs helped recognize and thank Foodbank board members and the campaign cabinet members for their support. The cabinet is comprised of community leaders representing a variety of industries across multiple counties, all who are volunteering their time to create awareness about the Foodbank’s campaign and its hunger-relief efforts.
“The Foodbank is on the cusp of ensuring no one in our community goes without a nourishing meal, and I’m honored to be a part of this work,” said Shivers. “We stand behind this campaign and are confident we’ll see a thriving community free of hunger.”
Concluding the program was recognition of early campaign donors who have helped advance the Foodbank’s campaign goal by more than 70 percent. Leadership support, $500,000 or more, has been received by American Electric Power Foundation, FirstEnergy Foundation, The Hoover Foundation, The Jeffrey Fisher Family, The Keith D. Monda Family, The J.M. Smucker Company, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton and Stark Community Foundation.