GRANT IN MOTION
Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
While the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank has served Stark County since 1987, its only physical location has been in Akron. This will soon change, thanks to financial support from Stark Community Foundation and other generous donors in our community.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors approved a $1 million grant to the Foodbank last year to help construct and operate a new facility in Canton, making it the largest grant ever directed by our Board. The 40,000-square-foot campus, expected to open in 2021, will be located on the corner of Cherry Avenue NE and 14th Street NE in downtown Canton.
The new facility will feature a:
- distribution center to increase access to serve hunger-relief partners more efficiently;
- collaborative and community space to engage local organizations;
- teaching kitchen for food-related training and educational activities;
- food pantry and resource center to support greater food security in the surrounding neighborhoods;
- innovative space for piloting food security initiatives to support individuals in need and encourage self-sufficiency; and
- volunteer center to engage thousands of additional community members in hunger relief
Last week, an open house was held at the construction site of the new Stark County Campus where hunger-fighting supporters signed a beam, which will be permanently placed in the lobby of the building. Pictured above is Stark Community Foundation President & CEO Mark Samolczyk leaving his mark on the facility.
The Foundation's $1 million investment in the Foodbank comes after a six-year collaborative effort to fight food insecurity in Stark County. After receiving a high volume of grant requests focused on hunger relief, the Foundation commissioned a research study to gain a deeper understanding of the hunger issues facing individuals and families in our community. One of the recommendations of the study was to develop a local food hub, one that could facilitate access to healthy foods and foster entrepreneurial and workforce development in the local food sector. This food hub will soon be a reality, thanks to the Foodbank's leadership and the Foundation's support.