AKRON: Cleveland Clinic Akron General has opened a second location of its successful food pantry program and is now serving clients at the hospital’s Women’s Health Center at 676 S. Broadway St., Akron.
The original pantry at Akron General opened in June 2022. Staffed five days a week, it has served 4,134 individuals and 1,714 households to date, averaging more than 60 participants per week, and continues to grow. About half of these individuals are outpatients who are referred by their physician after they expressed that they have struggled to buy food in the past 12 months, and the rest are community members.
The new location, which is in a facility that treats women of all ages with an emphasis on pregnant women and young children, will operate on a smaller scale, with a model in which the staff will give food to people who request it instead of having a full-time pantry staff member on site. This builds on the center’s current practice of distributing items such as diapers to people in need.
“Adding a second pantry location at the Women’s Health Center allows us to serve a broader population,” said Morgan Stocker, who staffs the hospital pantry. “About 80% of the patients who are seen there qualify for assistance, so bringing it directly to them makes a lot of sense.”
Funding for Akron General’s food pantry program was secured by U.S. Rep. Emilia Sykes through an Ohio Department of Medicaid grant to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, in collaboration with local hospital systems, when she was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. The purpose of the grant is to support food-insecure patients with chronic disease and their families who live in Summit County.
Once a patient has accessed services through the pantry, they are able to return as often as they need. No fee is charged. The food is provided by the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.