Kent crowned as winner of this year’s Hunger Challenge, breaking streak

It’s been 13 years, but Kent finally did it. Mayor Jerry Fiala announced May 17 that Kent won the 2023 Annual Hunger Challenge, a friendly competition that pits Kent and Ravenna against each other to see who can raise the most to help those in need.

This year Kent area donors provided Kent Social Services with $33,937 in cash and 7,695 food items. Ravenna area donors provided Center of Hope with $25,141 in cash and 12,894 food items, said Heather Laliberte, director of grants and marketing for Family and Community Services, which sponsors the April event.

“Congratulations to Kent Social Services for raising the most money, and Center of Hope for collecting the most food items during our 2023 Hunger Challenge,” FCS Executive Director Mark Frisone said. “The need is great in our communities, and the support received will help us serve more food-insecure families in Kent and Ravenna.”

Frisone also thanked Ravenna Mayor Frank Seman and Fiala, as well as supporters who live or work in the cities.

The Annual Hunger Challenge has Kent Social Services and Center of Hope team up with local philanthropists and city mayors to raise donations. Community members, businesses and anyone else who wishes to participate may donate cash online or drop off items at both centers.

Donation boxes were placed at the Portage County Sheriff’s Office and the Kent Police Department. 

Those conducting food drives and making donations included the Ravenna Police Department, Kent Health Department, the Neil Mann family, the Dubois Family Foundation, St. Patrick’s Knights of Columbus, Ravenna Assembly of God, Reed Memorial Library, First Congregational Church UCC, Hope Lutheran Church, the Socially Responsible Sweatshop, and many others, Laliberte said.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.