By Emily Gross, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach
Today’s Front Line Hero is OPEN M in Akron, Ohio, for distributing more than 45,000 pounds of food to families in need over the last two months alone.
OPEN M stands for Opportunity Parish Ecumenical Neighborhood Ministry, an organization formed in the late 1960s to address poverty and other injustices affecting inner-city life. Now 1,000 volunteers strong, they expanded their effort over the years to offer food, health, and employment services in support of the greater Akron community. OPEN M also works with Covenant Churches and other supporting organizations to provide critical health and human service programs.
On the third Friday of every month, OPEN M hosts “Mountain of Food,” a Direct Distribution program of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. Throughout the day, OPEN M distributes in bulk much-needed nutritious, perishable foods such as produce, meat, and bread to families in need of assistance. Although recipients must bring an ID, no referral or pre-registration is required to receive items. Mountain of Food has continued as a drive-thru through the pandemic, and just last month, OPEN M distributed more than 25,000 pounds of food to 301 families, of which 85 were new to the program. Last week, they hosted another successful event, distributing more than 20,000 pounds of food. More than 185 families received items such as boxed cereal, fresh fruit and vegetables, chicken, assorted snacks, and drinks.
With food insecurity on the rise, we are grateful to organizations like OPEN M who are working through a global pandemic to feed their community. To find out more about Mountain of Food and other programs at OPEN M, volunteering, and other ways you can help, please visit www.openm.org/food.