For some families struggling with poverty and hunger, Thanksgiving can be a difficult holiday. If you are dealing with food insecurity, need help with the expense of purchasing the needed ingredients for a special meal or are struggling with high medical bills, low wages, housing needs or other issues, we have gathered some valuable resources below.
Stark Help Central.com wants to help ensure everyone can enjoy the holiday, especially children.
Ongoing assistance can be found via food pantries, which often put special focus on securing the ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal.
Stark Campus of the Akron-Regional Food Bank
The food bank has a Stark County campus, located at 1365 Cherry Ave., NE in Canton. The Stark campus of the Food Bank is open every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Stark campus food pantry offers fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as shelf-stable pantry items, bread and dairy products. You can even order your food online at OrderAhead.org. Simply create a profile, select “Foodbank Stark Pantry” as your pickup location and choose the Tuesday or Wednesday that works best for you. Find more information here.
If you are in Summit County, check out the Akron-Regional Food Bank, which provides emergency food via 500 food pantries and hot meal sites in the region. It is located at 350 Opportunity Parkway in Akron. You can reach the Akron-Regional Food Bank at 330.535.6900.
Stark County Hunger Task Force
The Stark County Hunger Task Force is another source of food for area families via its emergency food pantry. The emergency food pantry is located at 408 9th Street, SW in Canton.
Monday and Tuesday: 9:15 am to 2:35 pm
Wednesday: 9:15 am to 3:35 pm
Thursday and Friday: 9:15 am to 1:35 pm
We are closed on all major holidays and when the Goodwill campus is closed.
The Emergency Food Pantry operates on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a set number of appointment times each day. Appointments can be obtained upon entrance of the Community Campus Building.
Locations for food and holiday meals
St. Barbara Food Pantry
In Massillon, the St. Barbara’s Food Pantry offers groceries at 2813 Lincoln Way, NW in Massillon. They can be reached at 330.833.6898. They also offer Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner food vouchers to be used at a local grocery store.
Refuge of Hope
Refuge of Hope at 715 Second Street NE in Canton, offers free, hot, nutritious meals through their meal ministry. They serve lunch every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Doors open at 10:30 a.m., with meals served through noon.
Dinner is served every Monday through Friday, doors open at 4:30 and meals are served through 6 p.m.
The Refuge of Hope will serve dinner on Thanksgiving Day, at normal meal time, from 4:30 – 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome.
Basilica of Saint John the Baptist
Basilica of Saint John the Baptist at 627 McKinley Avenue NW Canton, offers a food pantry, every Wednesday, from 9 a.m. until noon. The Samaritan Table offers free hot meals every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On Thanksgiving, St. John’s offers a free Thanksgiving dinner (take-out), with meal pick up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more information, call 330.454.8044.
Church of the Lakes
Church of the Lakes at 5944 Fulton Drive, NW in Canton will offer their free Thanksgiving Dinner at noon on Thanksgiving Day. Make your reservations by contacting the church at 330.499.8972.
Thanksgiving Baskets Downtown
For more than 30 years, Thanksgiving Baskets Downtown has donated turkeys, with the help of united faith communities and civic organizations. This is an all-volunteer effort to provide families with food on Thanksgiving. There are a variety of times and places to register for your Thanksgiving basket. Find all the information to register here.
Look for more information online about free Thanksgiving meals as the holiday nears.
With emergency assistance from the United Way, you may be able to avoid being forced to choose between paying bills and buying a special holiday meal. The emergency assistance program offers aid to people struggling to pay their utility bills, rent, or mortgage, which can free up resources for Thanksgiving.
A place to stay
For some families, the most difficult part of the holiday season is finding a safe place to stay. Families can get help locating compatible housing and living arrangements via the Stark County Homeless Hotline. Other resources to explore include:
With Christmas drawing near as well, families can seek out additional holiday help from initiatives such as Coats for Kids, Toys for Tots, and Angel Tree. These programs match children with eager donors who provide toys, clothing and more in a spirit of giving.
How to get help
To get help with food and housing, begin by visiting the charity or organization directly.
You may need to fill out a form or application. You may also need to bring proof of residency, proof of need, or otherwise meet requirements. Some groups may ask for a driver’s license or utility bill to show this proof.
The Salvation Army offers a variety of assistance programs. Contact your local Salvation Army center or find information here.
If you or a loved one are in crisis, call Stark County’s crisis hotline at 330-452-6000.