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“The Cut” is a weekly reporters notebook-type essay by an Ideastream Public Media content creator, reflecting on the news and on life in Northeast Ohio. What exactly does “The Cut” mean? It's a throwback to the old days of using a razor blade to cut analog tape. In radio lingo, we refer to sound bites as “cuts.” So think of these behind-the-scene essays as “cuts” from Ideastream's producers.

We’ve got our community covered

Wendy Turner and Abigail Bottar clean and inspect donated canned goods at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
Mike McIntyre
/
Ideastream Public Media
Wendy Turner and Abigail Bottar clean and inspect donated canned goods at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

Every day in the newsroom at Ideastream Public Media, we strive to cover what is important to the Northeast Ohio community. We report the news and share stories about the people, places and institutions that populate our region.

But our mission goes much deeper than simply chronicling the day’s biggest stories.

At Ideastream, our vision statement notes our “ability to strengthen our community.” We do that by educating, informing and engaging the community, of course, but also by being a part of that community.

Today we did it in a much different way, gathering to help process donations to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. We put away our digital recorders, our notebooks and our cameras, and we rolled up our sleeves to do the work we so often merely chronicle.

Amanda Rabinowitz, Natalie Pillsbury and Ella Fong inspect and clean canned goods at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.
Mike McIntyre
/
Ideastream Public Media
Amanda Rabinowitz, Natalie Pillsbury and Ella Fong and a contingent of other Ideastream Public Media employees volunteered at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.

Reporters and editors, human resources specialists, accountants and membership managers, staff veterans and new hires all pitched in for morning and afternoon shifts. Someone from virtually every department showed up for a very different day of work. There were dozens of us, inspecting and sanitizing canned and jarred food to be packaged up later by another crew of volunteers.

I realize our crew is not special. This in no way is intended to be a brag post. Many organizations and individuals, like you, work in so many different ways to strengthen our community. But committing to do the hands-on work, together, helped me to step away from the daily news grind to see, from a new perspective, what it is we’re trying to accomplish here.

On the morning shift in Cleveland, our folks worked with other volunteers to process 19,000 pounds of food. In Akron-Canton, our crew of 10 moved through 4,700 pounds. It’s a drop in the bucket.

Just last week, during our “Hunger Challenge” fund drive, we talked extensively about food insecurity in our communities with Kristin Warzocha of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Raven Gayheart and Katie Carver Reed of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

Ideastream volunteers inspect and clean canned goods at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
Mike McIntyre
/
Ideastream Public Media
A team of Ideastream Public Media volunteers processed some 4,000 meals on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.

Our audience stepped up that day, with donations both helping Ideastream Public Media cover the region’s news and helping food banks meet the need. Rather than “thank you” gifts like a mug or tote bag, a portion of each donation went directly to the food banks.

That was gratifying, but today brought it to another level. It was just a few hours and not particularly complex work, but it had gravity. Holding a can of beef stew or green beans, making sure it was safe to eat and clean enough for someone’s kitchen, we had a visceral sense of the work it takes to help one another.

I thought about the people who donated straight from their stocked shelves, about all of the food bank workers who comprise a well-oiled machine, the many volunteers and the nurturing folks who run neighborhood food pantries. I thought about the families who would be nourished.

And I thought about our vision to “strengthen the community” and how my colleagues, whether sorting canned goods or covering the news, always work to bring that vision into focus. I look forward to Ideastream’s next staff volunteer experience in our community.

"The Cut" is featured in Ideastream Public Media's weekly newsletter, The Frequency Week in Review. To get The Frequency Week in Review, The Daily Frequency or any of our newsletters, sign up on Ideastream's newsletter subscription page.

Mike is the executive editor of Ideastream Public Media.