WHAT IS COMMUNITY HARVEST?
Community Harvest (CH) was created in 1989 by the Tri-County Restaurant Association and others in the restaurant and food service industry. We collect excess prepared and perishable food and donate it to community agencies serving homeless and hungry individuals. CH became part of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank in January 2017, and I serve as the program director. By teaming up with the Foodbank, we have increased the number of meals provided to the over 54,000 residents who turn to hot meal programs and shelters for support in Stark County each year.
WHY IS THIS WORK SO IMPORTANT?
Preventing food waste is not only important for our community, but for our entire country. America has more than enough food to feed everyone. By some estimates, nearly half of the food grown, processed, and transported in the U.S. goes to waste. I have amazing memories of creating meals directly from my grandparents’ Stark County farm – and my grandma being adamant about us “not taking more than we can eat.” She was my first memory of valuing food and reminding me (often) that others are far less fortunate.
HOW DO COLLEAGUES DESCRIBE YOU?
People have referred to me as a “relationship connector.” I really enjoy solving problems and I spend time developing relationships so I have the connections needed when someone calls and needs my help.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?
My mom will always be my greatest role model. After a long battle with Alzheimer’s, we lost her to the disease on All Saints Day, Nov. 1, 2017. By all accounts, she was a saint. She was beloved by everyone who met her, and she inspired me to continuously strive to be the best version of myself that I can be.
WHAT IS THE BEST-KEPT SECRET IN CANTON?
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church on Cherry Street offers lunch and dinner for dine-in or carry-out on the 2nd Friday of every month. I love Middle Eastern food! One of the aspects most exciting to me about the new Foodbank facility in Stark County is that St. George will only be two blocks away!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE COMMUNITY?
The kindness and outpouring of support to the Foodbank and other area agencies during the COVID-19 crisis has been nothing less than astonishing. I feel extremely blessed to live in a community where people continuously care for their neighbors, especially during hardships.
To learn more about donating food to the Community Harvest program or for volunteer opportunities, please contact Program Manager Faith Barbato at 330.493.0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.