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Mark and Michele Allio Family Fund

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Mark and Michele Allio

On Dec. 22, hundreds of people stood waiting in line for food at four local churches. They came hoping to get just enough food for Christmas, but they left carrying much more: whole 12-pound turkeys.

"The look on their faces, realizing they were getting these turkeys, was just amazing," said Mary Coppenger, food cupboard coordinator at Arlington Memorial Baptist Church. "You have no idea how much they were appreciated."

But for Mark and Shelly Allio, donating the turkeys was not about recognition – it was about coming together as a family to meet a real community need. 

In December, they approached the community foundation about making a grant from the Mark and Michele Allio Family Fund to distribute a "ton of turkeys" during the holidays.    

President John T. Petures Jr. immediately reached out to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and ACME Fresh Market, and together, they used the Allio Family Fund grant to purchase 2,000 pounds – literally "a ton" – of turkey. 

"One call to Akron Community Foundation, and it was done," Mark Allio said. 

Behind the scenes, the food bank worked diligently to coordinate the purchase of these turkeys and distribute them to four local church pantries, where people unsuspectingly stood in line for their regular food distribution. 

"(They) showed up expecting to get a regular bag of food and ended up with a whole turkey right at Christmas," said food bank CEO Dan Flowers. "The Allios’ donation could not have come at a better time."

The pantries echoed this sentiment, with Coppenger adding that very rarely is the church able to give people fresh meat, let alone an entire turkey.

Allio said his family decided to make the gift with their fund at Akron Community Foundation because they wanted to make the biggest impact possible. By using its expertise to coordinate community resources, the foundation was able to help the Allios provide feasts for 165 families at Christmas. 

"During the holidays, our family collectively discusses ideas to help people in the community," Allio said. "Our priority is basic human needs, so with our fund at Akron Community Foundation, we’re able to focus on those needs and let the foundation take care of the administration and fiduciary responsibilities."

As the Allio fund grows, their family will be able to make an even bigger impact on their favorite causes.

"Giving through our family fund allows us to accomplish our philanthropic goals," Allio said. "The ability to use so little in funds to provide thousands of meals is a wonderful return on any investment."

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