JACKSON TWP.  What better place to hold a food drive than inside and outside of a local grocery store? The Akron-Canton Foodbank had a semi-truck trailer parked in the parking lot of the Giant Eagle on the Strip in Jackson Township. There was a second trailer and donation drive held at the Giant Eagle in Fairlawn on the same day.

The event on Dec. 2 also included several radio stations as part of the Foodbank’s iheartmedia partnership. The radio stations were broadcasting from both sites during the food drive. Radio personalities joined in with volunteers and sponsors to encourage people to donate either food items or give monetary donations.

"This is the 20th year for the Long Haul Against Hunger annual drive and what better place to ask people to donate food than outside of a grocery store," said Stephanie Knori, campaign specialist with the Akron-Canton Foodbank. "People can drive up to the tent by the truck trailer and someone will come to the car to get their donations and we also have people inside the store taking donations. Usually, a one dollar donation would help buy four meals but with the help of our sponsors today, every single dollar donated will buy eight meals because our sponsors are matching every dollar donated."

The drive started at 6 a.m. and by noon more than 100 people had donated food or money. Knori said the goal for the two locations was to collect 400,000 pounds of food and raise $100,000.

Bill Shivers, board member of the Foodbank and president of Huntington Banks in the Canton and Mahoning Valley Regions, said, "The activity this morning has been great, this community realizes the need and is always very giving."

Sponsors for the event included Huntington Bank, iheartmedia, 415 Group, Summa Health, FirstEnergy, The J.M. Smucker Company and Giant Eagle. All the sponsors for the day matched the cash donations collected.

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank was formed in 1982 by a group of community leaders who made a commitment to provide emergency food to our neighbors in need. The Foodbank provides food and other essential items to member hunger-relief programs in eight Northeast Ohio counties including Carroll, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne. Member programs operate nearly 500 food pantries, hot meal sites, shelters and other hunger-relief programs in the neighborhoods and communities throughout the areas.