The Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank celebrates its first year serving the community from our new Stark County campus in Canton, an achievement made possible by the continued support of this very generous community.
In just one year, more than 6.3 million pounds of food have been distributed from the Stark County warehouse through 3,625 hunger relief partner pickups. The Keith D. Monda Family Food Pantry & Resource Center served approximately 9,600 families with 285,000 pounds of food.
New partnerships with five area nonprofits provided 155 sessions to community members, offering health screenings, education and referrals, legal services, employment assistance and more.
More comment:Problems with the rating system
Together, we uplift individuals, families and seniors in hopes of creating a thriving, hunger-free community.
And yet, many of us are feeling the effects of recent economic challenges, faced with rising costs everywhere from the gas pump to the grocery store. These same economic factors also impact the work of the Food Bank and its Hunger Relief Network: Rising inflation increased the cost of fuel for our fleet by 56% last year. Food donations from USDA and local food donors decreased by 53%.
Although other food flows have helped fill this gap, overall the food supply has shrunk by 19%, while we are paying 40% more to buy food to fill the gaps.
Demand continues to rise as families pay more for groceries and gas. In our service area, people visiting food pantries increased by 11% over last year and 19% of families visiting food pantries are new, meaning they have never visited a food program before.
At the same time, federal benefits paid to families during the pandemic have ended or are expiring. The expanded Child Tax Credit program, which offered families with children up to $300 in monthly support, ended in December 2021.
When the public health emergency declaration ends, low-income households using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will lose about $82 a month – funds they rely on to help put food on the table. their tables.
More comment:Acceptance sought for LGBTQ community in Stark County
This perfect storm of circumstances presents challenges never before experienced by our network, and we ask for a lifeline. Our food bank is a proud member of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which is Ohio’s largest charitable response to the fight against hunger.
We, along with 11 other Ohio food banks, join the state association in an urgent request for $183 million of the remaining $1.9 billion in American Rescue Plan Act fiscal stimulus funds. (ARPA) of Ohio. $50 million of this funding would provide immediate relief to food insecure families in Ohio in the form of food and personal care items.
An additional $133 million in funding from ARPA would help improve food bank infrastructure, allowing us and others in our network to recover from the ongoing effects of the pandemic and prepare for challenges. future.
Our food bank is mobilizing to take action and better serve food insecure neighbors during this increasingly difficult time. You can help us in this fight. Contact Governor Mike DeWine’s office and urge him to support Ohio’s food banks. You can also reach out to your representatives and encourage them to ask the governor to release funding for ARPA and provide relief to Ohio families.
Dan Flowers is President and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank.