The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank hosted more than 1,800 community members during Operation Orange on Friday, Sept. 8 through Saturday, Sept. 9. The fifth annual 24-hour volunteer event celebrates Hunger Action Month.
Throughout the day and night, volunteers committed to 2-hour shifts to keep warehouse projects running for a consecutive 24 hours. Volunteers worked on projects including sorting nearly 170,000 pounds of fresh produce, labeling packages of fruit and nut mix, and sorting and inspecting 31,000 pounds of frozen meat. With their help, the Foodbank will be able to distribute the equivalent of nearly 200,000 meals.
“We’re incredibly grateful for our friends, community members and network partners who are donating their time with us during Operation Orange,” said President & CEO Dan Flowers during the kick-off presentation. “All the food you touch today will be in the hands of those facing hunger in our community by next week. The Foodbank is an institution of compassion, fueled by you, your time and support, and that’s truly evident today.”
This year for Operation Orange, the Foodbank worked directly with farmers in California to receive hand-picked oranges and pears. Volunteers also sorted potatoes and locally sourced apples. The Foodbank continues to focus on offering nutritious, fresh produce to its 500 network partners, including food pantries, hot meal sites, shelters and other hunger relief programs.
To keep the energy levels high all night long, Celebration in Sound DJ service entertained volunteers, along with an array of events including a selfie station, trivia games and an hour of fun-filled dancing with local mascots, including Webster from the Akron RubberDucks, Zippy from The University of Akron, and Pozzie from the Canton Charge.
Operation Orange was made possible through donations by title sponsor Dominion Energy, as well as Faith Family Church and US Foods.