Plant Something Green Campaign for Stark Co. Hunger Task Force

The Stark County Hunger Task Force has an annual “Plant Something Green” campaign and as we approach Spring we want to provide fresh produce to the hungry in Stark County – over 57,000 individuals. We want to get local farmers and gardeners involved in donating extra produce that will be grown season. If you would consider planting “Something Green” for their annual mission you will help alleviate hunger in Stark County, one in every four children may not wake up hungry. If not a row, please consider a plant or two dedicated to helping others in a time of crisis. Providing fresh produce to the hungry in Stark County is a way we can give back and help strengthen our community.

History of the Stark County Hunger Task Force

The Stark County Hunger Task Force (SCHTF) began in 1981 with four food distribution sites. Located in the homes and churches of a small task force of residents in Stark County, they were dedicated to the mission of alleviating hunger in our community. Initially, we served 3,000 people free groceries each month. Since inception, the Stark County Hunger Task Force has grown to support over 30 pantries in Stark County, serving more than 27,000 people free groceries each month. Over the past 30 years, we have increased our services by 900% while retaining the same goal: to alleviate hunger in Stark County.

With the development of a pantry network within the Stark County Hunger Task Force, we have joined together to make a greater impact on the lives of the food insecure. The SCHTF offers financial, logistical, operational, and food support to established Stark county food assistance programs. With monthly budgets, the pantries are able to purchase food from the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. We are constantly fundraising in order to meet their budget needs, coordinating food drives, and providing access to two large vehicles available for their use, as well as regular monthly planning meetings so that we may address concerns, problem solve, and plan strategically for the future of this strong, instrumental hunger fighting team.

Each of our food distribution sites operates independently from our organization. They can choose to distribute in the manner best fit for their environment, whether it be already packaged grocery bags or in an individualized grocery-style shopping experience, called a “choice pantry.” They also choose their own areas to serve and support within Stark County, times and frequencies of distribution, their volunteer and how to recruit them, and the food orders they pick up from the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank with the financial budgets they receive from the Stark County Hunger Task Force and their own supporters.

For nearly two decades, the Stark County Hunger Task Force operated solely using volunteers. The first full time director was hired less than six years ago, a decision driven by SCHTF’s vision of decreasing the rate of hunger children seniors, and adults of Stark County on a larger level. The food insecurity rate in the county is 15.3% — that is over 57,000 neighbors in need of food assistance. One in every six Stark County residents struggles to put meals on the table or groceries in their cupboards. One in four of our children is food insecure, or is hungry more than six months out of the year.

 

Our Mission

 The Stark County Hunger Task Force fights hunger in our community by providing financial, logistic, strategic, and food support to our network of local emergency food pantries.

 Current Programs

Pantry Support Program: This program is described in the history section. We currently support over 30 food distribution sites/pantries across Stark County.

BackPack for Kids Program: This program is designed to fight childhood hunger by supplying meals in take-home “backpacks” to school-aged children. These children are identified by their participation in the free or reduced lunch program at school. This program focuses on the times when children are not in school, during which they may not be able to count on meals, supplying them kid-friendly breakfasts and lunches for the weekend. SCHTF serves 2,200 packs to an average of over 1,100 children each month during the school year.

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