CANTON, Ohio (WJW) — The kindness of neighbors is always amazing.
The Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank celebrated on Friday reaching a very important goal: They far surpassed their goal of serving 4.5 million meals by more than 300,000.
They couldn’t have done it without a lot of generous help from individuals and companies that stepped up to the plate, and their community partners who see the need firsthand.
And that need increases when there are changes in the economy and changes in federal and state assistance. The new debt ceiling deal hammered out in Washington this week will change food assistance.
Currently, people over the age of 50 who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, don’t have a work requirement.
But on Oct. 1, 2023, people ages 51 and 52 will have a new work requirement. Next October, the same would go for people ages 53 and 54.
The change impacts about 750,000 Americans, including about 28,000 Ohioans currently enrolled in SNAP, according to an analysis of the debt ceiling deal released Wednesday, May 31, by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning think tank.
It’s a change like this that could increase the number of people seeking help from food banks.
“All of us are concerned any time that there’s a change to benefits that results in less food available for people. So we’ll be preparing for potentially more older adults, specifically, needing extra help,” food bank Vice President Katie Carver Reed said.
But food banks are already challenged. Higher food prices have increased the number of people looking for assistance.
Most of these people are already working, but just need a little help to offset a higher cost of food, energy and unexpected bills.
“Most of the families that we serve only come a few times. It’s that short period of time where you just need a little extra help and that’s what community is, that’s what community does — we support each other when we need it,” Carver Reed said.
And community is what keeps food banks going. The kindness of others, from volunteers to donors, helps those who need assistance get it. And no matter what challenges are ahead, a community working together can solve it.
“Sometimes we need help and sometimes we’re the helper and that’s true of all of us,” Carver Reed said.
Learn more about the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank on its website.