Cartwright puts on an apron and bags it

Ryan Loew

President Carol Cartwright hands Ravenna resident Artherene Wilmington her groceries Saturday morning at Acme grocery store. Cartwright was one of the celebrity food packers for the Akron-Canton food bank to help raise awareness for the Harvest for Hunge

Credit: Ryan Loew

Ravenna resident Nancy Harris is accustomed to excellent service at the Kent Acme on Main Street.

But having President Carol Cartwright bag her orange juice, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and package of butter was not what she expected during her Saturday morning shopping.

In an effort to help the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank’s Harvest for Hunger campaign, Cartwright bagged groceries and asked shoppers to donate money and food Saturday.

“Today, we’re just trying to raise awareness,” Cartwright said. “I think it’s excellent because of the way they can leverage the contributions. People should be applauded for all kinds of contributions, but the food bank can make financial contributions go much further.”

The Harvest for Hunger campaign is a 19-county food and funds drive that takes place every March. In 2004, the campaign raised resources necessary for 647,000 meals. The meals are then provided to more than 300 soup kitchens, shelters and food pantries in eight counties, said Daniel Flowers, president of the food bank.

“We’re trying to get as many people on board as we can,” Flowers said. “Last year, the Harvest for Hunger program provided enough meals to fill 12-inch plates side-by-side sitting from Akron to Toledo and back again. And that’s a lot of meals.”

Cartwright, dressed as an official bagger in a beige Acme apron, stood at the end of the 12-items-or-less lane and chatted with customers.

“I’ve bagged groceries before in my life,” Cartwright said, “so it’s not all that new.”

Cashier Jen Eikelberry, who will be attending Kent State this summer, did have to give Cartwright some bagging tips.

“It’s fun. She has no idea what she’s doing, and it’s funny,” Eikelberry said. “She’s doing a good job. It was one of those star-struck moments, like, ‘Whoa, that’s Carol Cartwright.’”

Ridgetown resident Randy Dakery was just as surprised to have his 24-pack of 7UP, head of lettuce and other groceries packed by the university president.

“Can I consider this a return on my investment?” he said jokingly, referring to his son who graduated from Kent State.

Contact administration reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].