Stark County Hunger Task Force fights hunger in our community by providing financial, logistic, strategic, and food support to our network of local emergency food pantries and Backpack for Kids program.
We believe our work does more than just provide free groceries to those in need: we ease anxiety, inspire hope, and promote wellness. By alleviating hunger in Stark County, we are building a stronger community.
Compassion: Many individuals will, at some point, experience a crisis in which they cannot provide food for their families. We meet this basic need and treat everyone who visits us with dignity and respect.
Hope: When a neighbor in need comes to us for a hand up, we meet them with a smile, a cart full of groceries, and a small dash of hope that their circumstances will soon improve.
Generosity: It is only through the generosity of our donors that we are able to then show generosity to our friends and neighbors struggling with food insecurity.
Zeal: Our passion and commitment to Stark County drive our mission. Through hard work and raised awareness, we will alleviate hunger in our community.
Established in 1981, Stark County Hunger Task Force has helped serve the hungry of our community. Our organization provides financial, logistical, strategic, and food assistance to a network of over 30 food pantries throughout Stark County. In 2009, we opened the Stark County Hunger Task Force emergency food pantry with the desire to see it act as a safety net to fill any gaps in our food assistance service. Our pantry, located at the Community Campus at Goodwill, is open five days a week thanks to our staff, contracted employees through Vantage Aging and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, as well as our dedicated volunteers from the community.
Since 1981, the need for our services continues to grow as the need in our community intensifies.
1981: 3,000 people served monthly
2010: 15,000 people served monthly
2016: 29,000 people served monthly
2022: 34,000 people served monthly
As an unique non-profit organization and registered 501(c)(3), nearly all of our programming is funded through the generosity of community members – food and monetary donations, staff, volunteers, and a dedicated board of directors. Stark County Hunger Task Force is not a county agency, therefore we do not receive county funding. While we are grateful to receive a federal stipend through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, the amount we receive has decreased in recent years, and currently makes up a mere 8% of our operating budget. Since 2009, we have received an overall cut of 54 percent in federal assistance. That means we derive 92 percent of our budget from the support of our community.
Stephanie Sweany has been with the organization in various roles for close to six years. She is a graduate of Kent State University, where she remains active as President of the local alumni association. Stephanie is a graduate of the 34th Class of Leadership Stark County and is a past recipient of Twenty Under 40! and the Kent State University Alumni Advocacy Award. In her spare time, Stephanie works for Canton Food Tours as a tour guide, participates in Women’s Impact, and runs Canton Kindness Coalition. She lives in Canton with her cats, Spooky Mulder and Chandler Bing.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Heath joined the Hunger Task Force in 2015 as an accountant. Since 2017, he has been responsible for all financial compliance, reporting, budgeting, grant financials, and accounting functions at the Hunger Task Force. He is a Malone University graduate (Summa Cum Laude) specializing in the fields of corporate and forensic accounting. He is an active member of the Institute of Management Accountants, Ohio Society of CPAs, and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners/Forensic Accountants. Heath has served the past 28 years as a local law enforcement officer and is currently a part-time Police Sergeant for the Malone University Police Department. He also has a passion for dogs and enjoys spending time with his Great Danes. He and his wife Julia also spend their spare time volunteering accounting and fundraising services to local nonprofit dog rescues.
Allison Boogaart, a designer, curator, visual artist, and GlenOak High School graduate, joined our hunger-fighting team in 2022. After receiving her AAS in Digital Photography from Stark State College, she earned her Bachelors in Photography and Graphic Design from Indiana Wesleyan University. She spends her free time traveling, cooking and baking, reading, freelancing design services for small businesses, volunteering at her church as a children’s teacher, and artmaking. She resides in Stark County with her husband Cory and their two cats, Bruiser and Leo.
Kathleen holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Findlay, is a licensed social worker, and has worked in the social service field for over 30 years. She enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, kayaking, and fishing with her husband. She also enjoys reading and gardening. Kathleen and her husband, Roger, reside in Stark County with their two cats, Simon and Scruff, and their dog, Juniper.
DRIVER & WAREHOUSE MANAGER
Cory, an auditor and accountant, received a Bachelors of Arts in Finance, Accounting, and Business Administration from Malone University in 2017. A Michigan native and former NCAA varsity swimmer, he participates on a variety of sports leagues, plays and collects board games, volunteers for his church’s youth group, and travels with his wife, Allison.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The SCHTF Board of Directors is an all-volunteer “working board,” united to support the mission of alleviating hunger in Stark County and to guide the organization into the future.
From representing the organization at various local events and our own fundraisers to serving as executive officers and members of committees, our board members contribute their time and talents in many different capacities.
What they all have in common, regardless of those differences, is a commitment to making an impact in our community by providing our neighbors with a basic need — food.
Lisa Vitale Arnold – President, Attorney/Owner, Vitale Legal
Kathy Lopez – Vice President, Project Control Specialist, Burns & McDonnell
Robert F. Fay, CPA, PFS, CGMA – Treasurer, Owner/CEO, Bob F. Fay, CPA
Brook Harless – Secretary, Plain Township Trustee & Government Affairs Director, Stark Trumbull Area Realtors
Richard Desrosiers – Vice President of Communications & Public Relations, Pro Football Hall of Fame
Theresa Donato – Executive Administrative Assistant (retired)
Robert Feielin – President, Castlebar Corporation
Drew Felberg – Director of Admissions & Stark State College Akron, Stark State College
Jarvis Hall – Financial Advisor, Fidelity Investment
Ashley Harwell – Co-Owner, Cyrus Framing & Art Gallery
Debbie Horn – Emeritus
Redda Latona – Community Volunteer & Teacher (retired)
Mary Anne Schwartz – Temporary Leave
Yvette Zingery – Community Volunteer