Head of Feeding Medina County works to ease hunger problem

Most of us at one time or another have skipped breakfast, probably more than once, to try to get out the door a little faster to make that important meeting at the office. Maybe it drains us a little bit in the morning, but we’ll catch up at lunch or with a mid-morning snack.

Unfortunately, that’s often not an option for some families who are struggling to make ends meet financially.

It’s particularly tough for growing kids who need good nutrition to continue their healthy development and for seniors who often have medical issues that can worsen when they don’t eat healthy food on a regular basis.

Sandy Hinkle, executive director of Feeding Medina County, is doing her part to try to solve these problems.

“We know that children who don’t have enough nutrition don’t do as well in school,” Hinkle says. “They are less likely to be as active with other kids and they tend to have more health issues. And I know a lot of seniors who will start cutting their pills in half so they can stretch their medication a little further.”

The nonprofit launched Weekenders for Children and Staples for Seniors to help these two groups get food into their systems on a regular basis. As you’ll read in this month’s Building Stronger Communities feature, Feeding Medina County has built partnerships with volunteers and other organizations in the community to fulfill its mission.

“What started off as something very miniscule has grown into this huge service that we provide at no cost to the family, the child or the school,” Hinkle says.

“We’ve grown very rapidly over these four years, probably at a much faster pace than most nonprofits because we have been trying to meet the need. The Staples for Seniors program, which started on a very small level as well, has also grown over the years to where we now serve nine senior centers.”

As the need continues to grow, Hinkle says she and her team at FMC will keep working hard to meet it.

“We also do four food distributions every month, the biggest one being at the Medina County Fairgrounds the third Thursday of every month,” Hinkle says. “The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank delivers food, and we give food to probably 150 to 175 families. From May to October, we do free produce distributions in three different locations on the weeks that we’re not distributing at the fairgrounds.”

Mark Scott is senior associate editor at Smart Business.