The Foodbank gifts box truck to Wesley Community Center

The Foodbank gifts box truck to Wesley Community Center

How we are continuing to grow our agency capacity work to better serve the Miami Valley

By: Emily Gallion, Grant & Metrics Manager/Advocacy Manager, and Caitlyn McIntosh, Outreach/SNAP Lead

While The Foodbank’s direct service programs, such as the Drive Thru food pantry and our Mobile Farmers Markets, receive a lot of attention, the heart of our mission is still the daily acquisition and distribution of food.

In September, our Drive Thru and mobiles served a total of 5,158 households, while our partner agency food pantries alone served 14,295 families. By acquiring and distributing food for these food pantries as well as soup kitchens, emergency shelters, and other hunger relief organizations, we magnify our impact across the Miami Valley.

Additionally, while our primary mission is to provide food to people experiencing food insecurity, our partner agencies work directly in their respective communities. Many of them provide services far beyond food assistance, such as financial assistance, which makes them better positioned to address the root causes of poverty.

But our partner agencies face challenges of their own. Many of them are staffed by older individuals who are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19. At the height of the pandemic, only 75 of our 120 partner agencies were still open and serving people. 

So how do we support the work our partner agencies do? With capacity building support such as helping our partner agencies apply for grant funding, re-granting funding to them, and donating used equipment. At the height of COVID-19-related closures, we re-granted over $190,000 to the partner agencies that remained open to support their work.

Most recently, The Foodbank was able to donate a refrigerated box truck to the Wesley Community Center, one of our partner agencies. The Wesley Center operates a food pantry and Kids Cafe meal site. We selected the winner of the truck with a raffle.

 

 

Wesley Center staff received their truck at an October 14 key turnover event.

The mission of the Wesley Community Center is to meet the spiritual and basic needs of families of all ages offering assistance in education and training, employment, and human assistance in transitioning families toward self-sufficiency. 

The Wesley Center was established in 1966 as a response to the Civil Rights movement to bring the Miami Valley together in a time of unrest. They were founded under what is now known as the Miami Valley District of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church and continue to be a safe haven for Dayton area families in times of need. 

Cheryl Cole of the Wesley Center said the box truck will enable the center to host off site food distributions for families that have difficulty getting to a pantry. It will also allow the center to provide food for seniors living in senior apartments and villages.

“Having this truck opens a whole new door for Wesley to serve the surrounding communities,” Cheryl Cole of the Wesley Center said. 

The Foodbank acquires and distributes food to 116 other agencies just like the Wesley Center. As part of our commitment to shortening our line, we also want to make sure our agencies have everything they need to make that possible as well.

The heart of the work we do is centered around our agencies and the incredible staff and volunteers that help make it happen. We will continue to say time and time again that hunger does not work in silos. It stems from many issues such as mental illness, domestic violence, homelessness — the list goes on. With the help of our agencies, we know that if we combat hunger, we can then begin the fight to address the other social determinants that lead to a healthy life.

Given the volume of agencies we work with, we can always find a pantry or other program that fits your schedule. You can locate a pantry near you by calling 937-238-5132. A full list of agencies is available on our website

To learn more about the Wesley Center and its mission, visit their website.


Hunger Action Month 2020: ending hunger one helping at a time

Hunger Action Month 2020: ending hunger one helping at a time

Looking for ways to advocate for your neighbors this September? Here are some ideas.

By: Emily Gallion, Grants and Advocacy Manager and Caitlyn McIntosh, Outreach/SNAP Lead

Hunger Action Month, established by Feeding America in 2008, aims to rally Americans around this issue of food insecurity in America. In 2018, over 37 million individuals were identified as food insecure in Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap study

In the wake of COVID-19, Feeding America estimated that total would rise to 54 million.

We know that 2020 has been an unusual year. Many of the activities we typically recommend in September, such as hosting events, are high risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve compiled a list of COVID-friendly Hunger Action Month activities instead.

Educate yourself on hunger in America

It can be difficult for some to understand how the wealthiest nation in the world can have a hunger problem — but the hard truth is that hunger exists as close as your neighborhood. The story of families living paycheck to paycheck is all too common. After housing, transportation, and utility expenses, there is oftentimes not enough leftover to pay for food. By educating yourself on these sobering realities, you can better understand how to help others.

Share a #HungerActionMonth post

Education is powerful. We understand that not everyone is able to donate their time or money, but those are not the only two ways to get involved during Hunger Action Month. It can be as easy as sharing a social media link to spread the word to your friends that hunger is important! If there’s one thing we know to be true, is that there are many myths in the food assistance network and we need all the help we can get to debunk them. 

Make a donation to your local pantry or food bank

Food pantries and food banks both rely on generous donors to keep business running. Whether your donation is food or monetary, it will go directly back into your community to help a family in need. To donate to The Foodbank, please visit thefoodbankdayton.org/donate. Every dollar donated creates six meals!

Contact your local representatives about hunger

Social media and word of mouth are great education sources, but if there’s one thing we know to be true at The Foodbank it’s that change does not happen in a silo. Reaching out to your local representatives can be the catalyst to making a change. Whether it’s asking for a SNAP increase, additional COVID-19 relief funds, or funding for school pantries, advocating for others truly makes a difference.

Wear orange on Hunger Action Day

While the entire month of September is focused on taking action to end hunger, Feeding America has also declared a Hunger Action Day– which falls on September 10th this year. By wearing orange you can help spread awareness of Hunger Action Month and encourage others to also participate in ending hunger. 

Volunteer

Due to social distancing guidelines, some organizations are not accepting volunteers to ensure everyone’s safety. While you cannot volunteer in our warehouse, we have off-site and virtual opportunities that still allow you to help your community. Keep an eye out on our website and social media pages to keep up to date with upcoming opportunities. 

Set up a fundraiser

While it is difficult for us to be together right now, setting up a fundraiser is a great way to keep your organization, office, or team virtually together. Whether it’s a Facebook fundraiser or sites like YouGiveGoods, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make a difference. Leave some fundraiser suggestions for others in the comments below!

Grow food for you, your neighbors, or food bank

At The Foodbank, we have a 75 raised bed garden full of fresh produce that we grow for the Dayton community. Gardening is a fun and interactive way to get the family working towards a goal. If you want to be a real rockstar, you can even learn how to compost your own food waste to give your garden some extra life!

Talk to your children about hunger

There are 32,750 children in the Miami Valley who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. These children are your neighbors, classmates, and your friends. How can you and your family be advocates for these children? Feeding America has put together a Family Action Plan to assist families in speaking to their children about hunger and how it makes us feel. There are plenty of activities for you and your children to complete together and learn as a family.

Follow us on social media

Something is always going on here at The Foodbank! Volunteer opportunities, mobile pantries, mass distributions, and fun events are always posted on our social media pages. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIN, and YouTube at thefoodbankinc. 


Composting begins at The Foodbank

Composting begins at The Foodbank

The finished product will be used in our urban garden, which provides educational opportunities for our community while relieving hunger in our area.

Written by: Emily Gallion, Grants & Advocacy Manager and Caitlyn McIntosh, Development Manager

Over 20 percent of the material in municipal landfills is food. According to the EPA, food waste is the greatest single contributor to solid waste nationwide. While food waste can easily be repurposed into compost, only a fraction – about 6 percent – is put to use in this manner.

It is troubling to see such excessive food waste and food insecurity exist side-by-side. It is estimated that one third of food produced for human consumption is never eaten, and a significant amount of food is wasted for superficial reasons: for example, retailers often cannot sell fruits and veggies that are misshapen, the wrong size, or otherwise unattractive. Meanwhile, in our own community, 116,720 people are living with food insecurity.

Hunger relief organizations such as The Foodbank are in a unique position to address this issue. By “rescuing” food that would otherwise go to waste, we can reduce solid waste while also providing healthy food to those who need it. Food rescue from retailers accounted for 3.5 million pounds of food distributed by The Foodbank in 2019.

Our spoilage rates are incredibly low. Last year, we only lost about 1 percent of the food we acquired. However, considering that we distributed over 16 million pounds of food last year, even 1 percent can make a significant impact. Meanwhile, we were also buying compost for our urban garden and paying for carts to remove food waste from our property. We knew we could do better.

Compost during the stirring process; photo by Tom Greene of Dayton Times Magazine

Many people associate composting with bins of decomposing food — a smelly process that can take upwards of three months. Thanks to generous support from the Ohio EPA, Kroger, Central State University, and a private donor, The Foodbank was able to purchase an in-vessel continuous flow composting unit from Green Mountain Technologies, a US-based company whose mission is helping organizations like us reduce their environmental footprint.

For an organization such as The Foodbank, there are several opportunities associated with composting. The amount of food waste we produce is highly variable, and sometimes we only have a very small quantity of food to dispose of at one time. Odors were a major concern for us, as our garden is often visited by volunteers and children on field trips, and we absolutely could not run the risk of attracting pests – a major food safety hazard.

The unit, constructed from a recycled shipping container, shelters food waste from pests and harsh weather while creating the optimal conditions for composting. A metal auger stirs the compost, exposing it to oxygen and pushing waste through the unit. The consistent temperature and exposure to air means that the compost is finished after 14-21 days, after which it must “cure” in a separate location for 30-60 days.

This continuous-flow model is unique because it is able to move product through the container automatically. In traditional composting, food waste must be processed in large batches, but this is not feasible for food banks, which experience fluctuations in the volume of food waste produced. This unit allows us to add smaller quantities of food each day without disturbing existing compost.

Metal auger stirring compost; photo by Tom Greene of Dayton Times Magazine

While The Foodbank’s mission centers on hunger relief, food banks are in a unique position to address the issue of food waste. There is also a dual benefit associated with the acquisition of the new composter as well: the compost produced can benefit our on-site urban garden. Last year, the garden produced over three tons of fresh produce. 

In addition to producing food for our clients, the garden provides us an opportunity to educate our community. Last year, over 400 students visited our garden. The children we see are primarily low income students from neighboring areas, which are largely urban with limited green space.

The composter will allow us to offer additional educational opportunities to the community. And while our composter is a commercial-grade system made from a large shipping container, composting can be done at any scale in any environment. 

Most of our neighbors live in apartment buildings or houses with very small yards — not ideal environments for large gardens or large shipping containers of compost. Our urban garden has allowed us to teach the community how to use alternative ways of gardening, and we plan to teach alternative ways of composting as well.

Apple represents location of The Foodbank

In addition to the educational advantages of having a composter on site, there is another advantage: the bottom line. In 2018, we spent $8,000 on trash service to dispose of spoiled food, but we were also purchasing compost from other sources for use in the garden. We anticipate seeing a cost savings of $10,000 just from producing our own compost.

We hope to be able to use the unit as a potential revenue stream within the next few years by accepting food waste from other organizations and turning it into a salable product. 

The Foodbank is constantly looking for innovative practices to help us better the community. We are currently one of the only food banks in the nation with its own in-vessel composter. As our program continues to grow, we hope that our successes and failures can serve as a model for how we all can better manage waste.

Visitors are always welcome and encouraged. Contact our Master Gardener James Hoffer at 937-461-0265 ext. 20 or JHoffer@thefoodbankdayton.org to Turnip the Beet with us!


The Foodbank, Inc., The Dayton Foundation, and UnitedHealthcare to Unveil New Food Distribution Truck

 

The Foodbank, Inc., The Dayton Foundation, and UnitedHealthcare to Unveil New Food Distribution Truck

 

Dayton, OH –  (February 3, 2020): On Wednesday, February 5th members of the press are invited to attend the formal unveiling of a new Foodbank truck, followed by a mobile farmer’s market open to anyone in need.

Sponsored by The Dayton Foundation and UnitedHealthcare, the new truck will aid The Foodbank in distributing fresh, healthy foods across 27 different sites in Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties. After a formal ribbon cutting ceremony, the event will open up to the community for a heart healthy food distribution with the American Heart Association.

The new truck is part of a $500,000 grant UnitedHealthcare gave last year to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. Through this grant, food banks throughout Ohio now have new refrigeration units or new trucks to deliver the public increased access to fresh food.

“The Dayton Foundation is proud to support The Foodbank’s efforts to feed the hungry in Greater Dayton and keep edible food out of the landfill through food rescue and local farm fresh produce gleaning,” said Michael M. Parks, president of The Dayton Foundation.

 

When:                                      Wednesday, February 5, 2020

                                                  Formal Unveiling 9:15 a.m.

                                                  Mobile Farmer’s Market 10:00-11:00 a.m.

 

Where:                                     Memorial United Church of Christ

                                                  2338 E 5th St.

                                                  Dayton, OH 45403

 

Interviews Available:              Lee Lauren Truesdale, The Foodbank, Inc., Chief Development Officer

                                                 Joree Novotny, Ohio Association of Food Banks, Director of External Affairs

                                                 Michael Roaldi, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Ohio, CEO

 

Photos Available:                  Truck unveiling and ribbon cutting

                                                Food distribution


Local Businesses Create Sculptures out of Canned Goods

 

Local Businesses Create Sculptures out of Canned Goods

 

(September 25, 2019 Dayton, OH) – To raise awareness on hunger in the Miami Valley and support The Foodbank, local businesses are building sculptures out of canned goods with CANstruction® which will be on display for the public.

Local construction companies, architects, engineers and manufacturers, will create structures completely from canned goods on site at the Dayton Mall October 2. The event, sponsored by the Ohio Valley Associated Builders and Contractors, will run from October 2 through October 14. The structures, some of which could reach 10 feet high, will be on display at the center of the mall, just outside of Macy’s. All canned goods collected from the event will be donated to The Foodbank to support local hunger relief. Judges will score the CANstructions by Structural Ingenuity, Best Original Design, Best Use of Labels, Best Meals, People’s Choice, and Most Cans.

Michelle L. Riley, CEO of The Foodbank, said, “One in six people in the Miami Valley struggle with hunger. While it is easy to host a food drive to collect nonperishable food items, it takes creativity, ingenuity, and a lot of time to make art out of canned goods. Thanks to Ohio Valley Associated Builders and Contractors and Miami Township, the canned goods collected will provide hundreds of meals for our neighbors in need. We look forward to seeing the teams create their structures all while making a difference for our community.”

John Morris, Miami Township Trustee Vice President said, “The township is excited to be hosting CANstruction inside the Dayton Mall. We hope that people from all over the region come to shop, eat and view these amazing works of art, bringing canned goods of their own to donate. Collection barrels will be available throughout the mall.  We expect to be able to collect and donate nearly 50,000 cans from this event.”

The public is invited to view the artwork at the Dayton Mall from October 2 through October 14. Visitors are encouraged to drop off their own donations beginning the week of October 2 through October 14.

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The Foodbank relieves hunger in the community through a network of partner agencies by acquiring and distributing food. Food and related supplies are distributed to a network of pantries, community kitchens, shelters and other charitable programs, all of which support the health and development of food insecure individuals in the Miami Valley. Through our over 100 member agencies, The Foodbank distributed over 16 million pounds of food last year. There are 116,720 food insecure individuals in our area, 33,770 of which are children.

Canstruction® is a non-profit 501(c)3 charity which hosts competitions and events creating awe-inspiring, gigantic structures made entirely out of full cans of food. Teams of volunteers, which include design industry professionals, participate in Canstruction events in 150+ cities around the world each year. Afterwards, all food is donated to local food banks. Since 1992, Canstruction has raised over 72 million pounds of food for hunger relief organizations around the world with its signature, trademarked CanArt®.


The Aftermath of the Dayton Tornadoes

The Aftermath of the Dayton Tornadoes

by Aniqa Ahmed, Advocacy Intern

The night of May 27, over a dozen tornadoes ripped through the Dayton Area. The storm, with winds reaching 140 mph, left many families displaced and without electricity, water, and food.

The Foodbank, Inc.’s response began at 5:30 am the following day with Charles Martin III, Service Center Manager, and Michelle Riley, CEO, strategizing how they would get mass amounts of water to the areas most affected. The organization, already flooded with donations from the community, opened its doors by 8:00 am for water distribution. The next day, The Foodbank, Inc.’s onsite drive thru stayed open the entire day to distribute emergency food and water. The heavy traffic flow would continue through mid-July.

The week after the disaster, The Foodbank, Inc. hosted over 1,000 volunteers to help with various aspects of food and water distribution. In the aftermath, the organization provided millions of bottles of water and hundreds of thousands of pounds of food and personal supplies to the community. The team worked days on end distributing these products to Dayton residents in need of relief.

This was not the first time The Foodbank, Inc. helped with disaster relief. The organization was originally a Red Cross operation called the Emergency Resource Bank. And, since becoming a stand-alone nonprofit in 2004, The Foodbank, Inc. has provided aid across the nation in response to disasters. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in August 2017, the organization jumped into action, collecting and sending water and supplies to foodbanks in the affected area. This experience with disaster relief helped the team as they worked to make sure every individual’s needs, from water to food and hygiene products, were met. To learn more about The Foodbank, Inc.’s work in disaster relief, click here.

September is Hunger Action Month, Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks’ awareness campaign designed to mobilize the public to take action on the issue of hunger. Hunger is a reality for 1 in 6 of our Miami Valley neighbors. Together, we can end hunger one helping at a time. Every action counts, so visit us on social media @thefoodbankinc to learn how you can get started.

 


September 20th – Montgomery County Mass Food Distribution

 

 The Foodbank to hold mass food distribution for Montgomery County

 

Dayton, OH (9/13/2019): The Foodbank will be hosting a mass distribution on Friday, September 20th for people in need of food assistance in Montgomery County at UD’s Welcome Stadium from 9am to 11am.

The Foodbank works with food pantries across Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties to feed people who qualify for food assistance. On September 20th, The Foodbank will be giving out food to individuals through a mass distribution at UD’s Welcome Stadium in Dayton. Individuals are welcome to come to Welcome Stadium at 9am where they will receive fresh produce and other products at no cost. CareSource is sponsoring the event and will be volunteering their time to help pass out the food. The distribution will be set up as a drive-thru.

Michelle Riley, CEO of The Foodbank, says, “There are 90,600 individuals in Montgomery County alone who do not know where their next meal is coming from and we don’t want to see anyone go hungry in the Miami Valley. With support from CareSource, The Foodbank looks forward to serving those in need through this mass distribution.”

“The CareSource Foundation and The Foodbank have been great partners for over a decade,” said Cathy Ponitz, Vice President, CareSource Foundation. “Our mass food distributions are a result of understanding the unique needs of people in our surrounding communities. We’re honored and excited to greet our Montgomery County families with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, served by nearly 200 CareSource employees.”

The food will be given out to families free of charge.

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The Foodbank relieves hunger in the community through a network of partner agencies by acquiring and distributing food. Food and related supplies are distributed to a network of pantries, community kitchens, shelters and other charitable programs, all of which support the health and development of food insecure individuals in the Miami Valley. Through our over 100 member agencies, The Foodbank distributed over 16 million pounds of food last year. There are 120,040 food insecure individuals in our area, 34,650 of which are children.

 

 


Volunteering for Hunger Action Month and Beyond

Volunteering for Hunger Action Month and Beyond

Written By: Aniqa Ahmed, Advocacy Intern for The Foodbank, Inc.

 

It is no doubt that volunteers are the backbone of The Foodbank, Inc. Because of their consistent dedication and their enduring passion, The Foodbank, Inc. is able to fulfill its mission of relieving hunger in the community through a network of partner agencies by acquiring and distributing food.

Sean Mitchell has been The Foodbank’s Volunteer and Marketing Manager for two years. Each year, with the help of our volunteers, we are able to send 1,500 kids weekend meals each  week, provide 1,100 seniors a box of food each month, and participate in 30 mobile food distributions a month, just to name a few. After 14 devastating tornadoes hit the Miami Valley this past May, a whopping 1,018 Daytonians responded immediately, volunteering their time and efforts. These volunteers did everything from packing and sorting food donations, to assisting in the drive thru pantry, and writing love notes to those affected by the tornadoes. Last year, The Foodbank distributed 16 million pounds of food with nearly 8,400 volunteers assisting us.

The Foodbank, Inc.’s vision is that no one should go hungry. Volunteers give The Foodbank, Inc. the confidence to start new projects, because the community always seems to step up and help make vision a reality. The Foodbank, Inc. strives to educate our community and make volunteering as easy and efficient as possible. By having the number of volunteers we do, we are able to stay on top of our hunger relief efforts as well as say “yes” to new opportunities. To learn more about volunteering or how to get involved, click here!

September is Hunger Action Month, Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks’ awareness campaign designed to mobilize the public to take action on the issue of hunger. Hunger is a reality for 1 in 6 of our Miami Valley neighbors. Together, we can end hunger one helping at a time. Every action counts, so visit us on social media @thefoodbankinc to learn how you can get started.


Hunger in the Miami Valley

Hunger in the Miami Valley

Written by: Aniqa Ahmed, Advocacy Intern for The Foodbank, Inc.

 

According to the USDA, an estimated 41 million Americans go hungry every day; this statistic includes up to 13 million children. Many of these families are from areas that are food insecure, such as food deserts located in the Dayton area. A food desert is an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, in contrast to an area with higher access to supermarkets or vegetable shops with fresh foods. The USDA defines food insecurity as “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life”. Food insecurity and food access, while different, many times go hand in hand.

In the Dayton area alone, over 116,000 people suffer from food insecurity, including 33,770 children. The Foodbank, Inc. works to serve those impacted by these conditions by operating a drive thru food pantry, a monthly senior food box, distributing food through our many partner agencies, and advocating to elected officials on the importance of funding hunger relief programs.

As well as serving those in need, The Foodbank, Inc. is constantly advocating for hunger awareness. Lora Davenport, our Advocacy and Programs Manager helps advocate for food security on the local, state, and federal levels. The Foodbank, Inc. also shares numerous hunger relief related messages through social media, and educates and encourages volunteers to also raise awareness of food insecurity.

If you would like to learn more about The Foodbank’s advocacy efforts, reach out to Lora Davenport at ldavenport@thefoodbankdayton.org.


September is Hunger Action Month, Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks’ awareness campaign designed to mobilize the public to take action on the issue of hunger. Hunger is a reality for 1 in 6 of our Miami Valley neighbors. Together, we can end hunger one helping at a time. Every action counts, so visit us on social media @thefoodbankinc to learn how you can get started.

 


August 23rd – Greene County Mass Distribution

The Foodbank to hold mass food distribution for Greene County

 

Dayton, OH (8/16/2019): The Foodbank will be hosting a mass distribution on Friday, August 23rd for people in need of food assistance in Greene County in the parking lot of the Nutter Center from 9am to 11am.

 

The Foodbank works with food pantries across Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties to feed people who qualify for food assistance. On August 23rd, The Foodbank will be giving out food to individuals through a mass distribution at the Wright State University’s Nutter Center. Individuals are welcome to come to the Nutter Center at 9am where they will receive fresh produce and other products at no cost. CareSource is sponsoring the event and will be volunteering their time to help pass out the food.

 

Michelle Riley, CEO of The Foodbank, says, “There are 21,170 individuals in Greene County alone who do not know where their next meal is coming from and we don’t want to see anyone go hungry in the Miami Valley. With support from CareSource, The Foodbank looks forward to serving those in need through this mass distribution.”

 

“The CareSource Foundation and The Foodbank have been great partners for over a decade,” said Cathy Ponitz, Vice President, CareSource Foundation. “Our mass food distributions are a result of understanding the unique needs of people in our surrounding communities. We’re honored and excited to greet our Greene County families with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, served by 150 CareSource employees.”

 

The food will be given out to families free of charge.