Nicole Flower likes to build relationships. A year ago, she and her husband, Andy, decided to open a food pantry that operates from the basement of her Highland Square church, Akron Christian Reformed Church.
The food pantry is called “The Landing” and feeds 50-plus families and individuals who struggle to afford groceries each week. The Landing also is a member agency of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
“We call it The Landing because we all land here on equal ground,” said Flower. “More than half of the people who help also come here and get food. We see each other as equals and as community.”
A dinner and dessert are regularly supplied for the guests at The Landing. There are tables and chairs, games for children, and sometimes even live music and always a pot of coffee for visitors to enjoy.
Visitors here sit together and build relationships. Many ask Flower about her children and often share personal anecdotes. One guest said she comes for the food but also for the chance to visit with everyone there and have a place to go each Friday.
“Everyone needs food,” said Flower, who adds that everyone also needs a place to belong.
Flower, who moved to Akron eight years ago, says she loves Akron for its “great urban setting” and for the countless things there are for her to do with her husband and two children. Flowers expressed a steely determination to support and create community in important ways.
Along with the food pantry, she contributes to a collaborative garden space in her neighborhood in Highland Square and hosts cookouts and other gatherings.
The Landing, located at 50 Marshall Ave. in Akron, is open Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m. For information, call (330) 733-8844.