AKRON, Ohio — Karen Warner is packing food in bags and boxes for the cars parked outside of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, waiting for the food distribution to begin.
It’s something the foodbank volunteer has done for the past six years.
Warner's dedication to volunteering to help those facing food insecurity stems from her own experiences.
“I was in need at one time in my life when my children were little. I was terrified that my children were going to go hungry and thankfully I had really good friends and they helped me out through the tough times,” Warner said.
September is Hunger Action Month and over 200 Feeding America food banks nationwide are mobilizing across all 50 states in an effort to raise awareness about hunger.
Warner said it’s important to make people in need aware that it is OK to ask for help.
“Don't be embarrassed about it. Oh, my goodness. Everybody needs a leg up once in a while. You got to have your food,” Warner said.
She said it's also important to make people aware of the food banks' constant need for volunteers.
“If we don't have the people volunteering, it just doesn't get done. These are all donations back here. If we don't process the donations, there's nobody else to do it,” she said.
Especially now as the coronavirus pandemic continues, which has caused more families to depend on assistance for food.
“Because of the variant that's going around, now that school started and the masking is being used a little bit more, you start to see a lot more people in need just not going to the grocery store. They’re afraid to,” she said.
According to Feeding America, 42 million Americans may face hunger because of the coronavirus pandemic.
During Hunger Action Month and beyond, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is encouraging everyone to volunteer, advocate or donate.