JACKSON TWP. Robert Barclay and Jeff Reinmann pulled up to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank collection truck parked at the Giant Eagle on the Strip in a Diebold Nixdorf cargo van on Dec. 1. They came to deliver 1,064 pounds of food and $2,500 in monetary donations. The food alone will help provide 887 meals.
Barclay said it was the eighth year the company has participated in the annual Long Haul Against Hunger food drive. The food and the money came from employees at local Diebold Nixdorf locations.
"We collected the super six items the foodbank asks for, including canned tuna, canned soup, stew, peanut butter, cereal and canned vegetables," Barclay said.
Stephanie Koontz and Raven Gayheart, with the Foodbank, said Diebold Nixdorf also collects and donates personal hygiene items such as shampoo and soaps for them to distribute.
"We are having a great day so far, it’s nice to see the generosity of the community at this annual food drive," Koontz said. "The Canton and Akron communities always rally around to help feed the hungry. This is our is our signature event and it’s the single largest food and fund drive we hold over the year."
It was the 21st 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. Koontz said it was the second year for holding the drive at the Giant Eagle on the Strip and at the store on Market Street in Fairlawn.
The truck was parked so that people could drive up and drop off food items or make a cash donation. Summa Health, FirstEnergy Foundation, The J.M. Smucker Company, the 415 Group and The Huntington National Bank matched all of the donated monies. In total this year, $103,000 was donated.
Gayheart said the money will help provide 412,000 meals. She said the Foodbank distributed more food this year than in past years.
"The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank distributed 30 million pounds of food this year making it a record breaking year," Gayheart said. "We’ve formed a number of new relationships to help us collect foods to distribute. We recently started working with the Starbucks FoodShare program where we have drivers who do food rescues by picking up pastries not sold the day before at 19 Canton and Akron Starbucks."
The pastries and produce rescued from two other new partners, Whole Foods and Fresh Thyme stores, are immediately delivered to hot meal sites.
The event on Dec. 1 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.
The drive started at 6 a.m. and went through 7 p.m. at both locations. For those who couldn’t make it to the drive but would still like to donate, visit akroncantonfoodbank.org/longhaul for all the details. Visit akroncantonfoodbank.org for complete details about the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
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.