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The end of a federal stimulus program on Friday will mean an average reduction of 36 dollars a month in food stamps for needy families in Summit County. And Dan Flowers, CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank tells AkronNewsNow that will mean increased demand for food distribution from the Foodbank.
" There seems to be a lot of anxiety on behalf of folks that are receiving this benefit. Just simply having it go away is going to be a big deal and so we're certainly bracing ourselves for whatever increase we actually see for sure in the next couple of weeks. "
Flowers says many families are already contacting the food bank. " Certainly a cut of this magnitude is one where we have already experienced some increases in the number of people that have been seeking emergency food from us in the last week or so as a result of their anticipation and fear of this cut," says Flowers.
Flowers says the Food Bank depends on donations from the public and the food industry and hopes contributions will keep up with the anticipated demand for food.
Dan Flowers says a $36 a month cutback may not seem like much, but it's a big deal to families struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table every day. He says the food stamp cutback may force many families to make tough decisions on how to obtain food and properly feed their children.
It's always nice to get a passing grade. For the Akron-Canton Foodbank, it's a little sweeter because their food safety score placed them in the top 5 percent of food banks.
The organization passed its formal American American Institute of Baking International (AIB) audit this week with a score higher than 900 on a 1,000 point scale.
The score is based on how the food bank safely handles, receives , processes and distributes food.
((Press Release)) The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank passed its first formal American Institute of Baking International (AIB) audit with a superior rating on March 13, 2013. AIB is recognized by food companies worldwide, and mandates high standards of sanitation in food processing and handling establishments.
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank joined the elite ranks, passing the food safety audit with a score in the top 5% of food banks. The Foodbank is one of ten food banks nationwide to receive a score higher than 900 on a 1,000 point scale. The rating was accomplished because the Foodbank goes beyond required food industry practices in the way it safely receives, processes, and distributes food.
This complex audit is completely voluntary to the 203 Feeding America member food banks across the nation. In the history of Feeding America, only 13 of its food banks have passed the rigorous AIB audit.
“This successful audit means we have among the highest standards of food safety certification in the country, and not just in the food bank industry,” Dan Flowers, President and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank stated. “This AIB rating is the gold standard of food safety programs. The importance of the Foodbank’s mission compels us to this level of diligence.”
As Feeding America’s 2012 Food Bank of the Year, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank leads the way for other food banks in the network. The Foodbank, like many others in the past few years has experienced exponential growth, increasing from a distribution of 12.9 million pounds of food in 2007 to 20.6 million pounds in 2012. With more than 5,000 volunteers and a network of more than 500 member agencies, the number of people handling food and the volume of food passing through the facility is greater than it has ever been. The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is committed to ensuring that food donations are being handled in the safest manner possible as it continues to help those struggling with hunger in our community.
“Few of the member agencies that rely on the Foodbank for food have the capacity to achieve this high degree of food safety certification,” added Flowers. “However the Foodbank is doing everything in our power to ensure that food is safe on their behalf.”
The 2012 Harvest for Hunger campaign by the Akron Canton Foodbank was a rousing success, with more than $925,000 and 117,000 pounds of food raised to set a record for the agency.
Supporters say the money and food raised will help provide food to serve more than 3.7 million meals in the region. The Akron Canton Foodbank serves food pantries, hot meal sites, shelters and other hunger-relief programs in an eight-county region including Summit, Stark, Medina, Portage, Carroll, Holmes, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties.
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(Akron-Canton Foodbank) On Friday afternoon a group of community leaders and Harvest for Hunger campaign coordinators sat quietly listening to Ed Roth, President & CEO of Aultman Health Foundation and this year’s Harvest for Hunger campaign co-chair, talk about the campaign. However, after a few minutes into Roth’s speech the crowd was taken by surprise.
Approximately 40 Foodbank supporters, employees and board members (seen at left courtesy Akron Canton Foodbank) spontaneously performed a dance to “Celebrate Good Times” by Cool and the Gang.
The flash mob was part of an effort to announce the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s Harvest for Hunger campaign total, a record-breaking $925,549 and 117,000 pounds of food.
“Today is all about celebrating the extraordinary efforts of the many individuals who played a role in making this campaign such a success,” said Dan Flowers, President and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “I continue to be amazed by the generosity and support of this community. We are extremely grateful.”
Because of the success of the campaign the Foodbank will be able to provide more than 3.7 million meals to those struggling with hunger.
More than 300 businesses and organizations held food and funds drives to support Harvest for Hunger. The campaign’s top financial donor was FirstEnergy Corporation, along with Aultman Health Foundation, Akron Children’s Hospital and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Medina County Libraries also had the largest food drive this year collecting more than 13,000 pounds of food.
Locally, six supermarket chains together raised $370,000 through Check Out Hunger, which allowed shoppers to scan coupons and make donations at the check-out register. Participating supermarkets included Buehler’s Fresh Foods, Dave’s Supermarkets, Fishers Foods, Giant Eagle, and Heinen’s Fine Foods, along with support from the members of UFCW Local 880.
The 2012 Harvest for Hunger campaign was led by two respected leaders from the healthcare industry, William H. Considine, President & CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital and Edward J. Roth, III, President & CEO of Aultman Health Foundation.
The Akron-Canton Foodbank is receiving high praise from a group that knows what it's like trying to raise funds and food for the hungry.
The local organization is being recognized as the nation's tops by the Feeding America Network Summit.
Among the major reasons: boosting food distribution to nearly 20 million pounds over the past year, and for their fundraising efforts leading to a 100% increase over the past two years.
(News Release) The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank was named the 2012 Member of the Year at the annual Feeding America Network Summit in Detroit. The award is the highest recognition achievable by food banks and is given to the year’s most outstanding food bank of the 202 food banks across the nation in the Feeding America network.
Judges selected the Ohio food bank because of its exceptional work over the past year. Among the food bank’s accomplishments:
- Increasing distribution to 19.4 million pounds of food and targeted its outreach in priority counties
- Cultivating new donors and balancing fundraising strategies, resulting in 100% increase in funds raised in the past two years
- Creating a new Feeding Kids Initiative to help the one in four kids suffering from food insecurity
- Developing creative tools to engage and educate the public, like the Hungry Kate video.
“The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank continues to create innovative ways to meet its community’s emergency food needs. They are truly a leader in our Network,” said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization. “(President and CEO) Dan Flowers and his remarkable team are well deserving of this great honor. Their effort to help feed the hungry in the Akron-Canton area and their contribution to our mission is truly inspiring.”
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank was formed in 1982 by a group of community leaders who made a commitment to provide emergency food to the community. Today, the Foodbank provides food and other essential items to member agencies in eight Northeast Ohio counties: Carroll, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne.
These member agencies operate more than 460 programs like food pantries, hot meal sites, shelters and other hunger-relief programs in the neighborhoods and communities where people need food.
"The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is fixed on its mission to Feed People and Fight Hunger. We are committed to seeking the most efficient and effective means to those ends,” said Dan Flowers, President and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “This honor belongs to this entire community, our member agencies, board of directors, staff members and our struggling neighbors. We will continue striving to serve more people and to serve them better. People in need deserve our very best. Our work has just begun."