Urban League and Good Samaritan team up in new program

Sep 01, 2017

They’ll come for the free food and stay for the health screenings, support services and community resource information.

That’s the hope of a new program bringing together the Good Samaritan Hunger Center and the Akron Urban League, two venerable organizations that are blending their skills to benefit Akron families in need.

“We deal with education and employment, but if people are hungry they’re never going to be able to thrive and succeed,” said Christopher Brown, the Urban League’s director of operations.

Good Samaritan board member Bill Kiel said his organization feels the same way in reverse: “There are a lot of people out there who need food, but then you find out they need so much more. This is a way we can help them get it.”

Kiel said the organization’s directors — Sadie Winlock of the Urban League and Michele Smith of Good Samaritan — have been discussing how to merge their areas of expertise for months.

The result: Beginning Sept. 14, the hunger center will distribute groceries at the Urban League, 440 Vernon Odom Blvd., on the last three Thursdays of each month.

Anyone in need of groceries can sign up at 5 p.m.; a photo ID is required. Food will then be distributed from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

The Urban League will become the third location for Good Samaritan, which already runs a food pantry operation out of Patterson Park and Summit Lake.

Then, beginning Oct. 17, the Urban League will begin serving a hot meal on the second Thursday of every month from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

On those hot meal days, there will also be a “vendor fair” atmosphere with representatives from area nonprofits and organizations offering or explaining their services, Brown said.

“The people who come in can see the network of collaborative resources across the community,” Brown said, from housing advocates to health screenings to education and employment information.

Groups that want to be represented at the monthly hot meal event can call Edwin Hubbard Jr. at 234-542-4152.

Individuals who would like to assist with the grocery distributions can visit the “Volunteer” link at http://www.goodsamaritanhungercenter.org.

Original article by Paula Schleis, Akron Beacon Jornal