The Foodbank, Inc., Walmart, Sam’s Club and Feeding America Launch “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” Campaign to Combat Hunger in Miami Valley

[Dayton, OH] April 22, 2019 – One in eight Americans in communities across the U.S. struggle with hunger, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including people in the Miami Valley. To raise awareness and combat the issue, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Feeding America® and The Foodbank, Inc. are kicking off its sixth annual nationwide “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” (FHSC) campaign, which will run from April 22 to May 20.

In partnership with The Foodbank, Walmart and Sam’s Club now invite shoppers in the Miami Valley to help fight hunger in their local community. There are three ways to participate – purchasing a participating item in-store or online, donating in-store, or donating on Feeding America’s website.

With 749 million meals achieved over the last five years, Miami Valley customers and members can help the Feeding America network secure its 1 billion cumulative meals goal in three ways. They can track the number of meals by visiting www.walmart.com/fighthunger.

  • For every participating product purchased at U.S. Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs or on Walmart.com during the campaign, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of at least one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank, up to applicable limits.
  • Donate money to your local Feeding America food bank at participating Sam’s Club and Walmart stores in the U.S.
  • Donate at feedingamerica.org/Walmart.

 

 

Walmart kickstarted the campaign with a $3 million donation to Feeding America and member food banks including The Foodbank, Inc. A purchase of one of the 267 participating items helps secure the equivalent of one meal. Each Walmart and Sam’s Club will partner with at least one Feeding America local food bank, and the 18 participating suppliers include: Bush Brothers, Campbell’s, Conagra Brands, Cliff Bar, General Mills, Gold Peak Tea, Great Value, Hidden Valley, JM Smucker, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, McCormick, Motts, PepsiCo, Post, Uncle Ben’s, Nature Nate’s Honey and Unilever.

 

“As we go into our sixth year of the ‘Fight Hunger. Spark Change.’ campaign, it’s exciting to approach the 1 billion mark in terms of charitable meals secured for Feeding America over the life of the program,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “Food insecurity continues to affect communities across the United States. Working with Feeding America, our customers, members, associates and suppliers, Walmart and Sam’s Club aim to be part of the solution.”

 

Last year, The Foodbank benefited from $24,582 dollars from Walmart and Sam’s Club’s commitment to fight hunger.

 

Michelle L. Riley, CEO of The Foodbank, says, “Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across the Dayton area are foodbank champions. They continuously support our efforts, providing donated food items that end up in the hands of our 120,040 people who struggle with hunger locally. Fight Hunger Spark Change is another great way for the community to get involved, helping our neighbors in need.”

 

To learn more about the campaign visit www.walmart.com/fighthunger.

 

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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 nearly 13 million pounds of food last year. There are 120,040 food insecure individuals in our area, 34,650 of which are children.

 

About Walmart

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices.  Each week, over 275 million customers and members visit our more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites.  With fiscal year 2019 revenue of $514.4 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide.  Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity.  Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.

 

About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

 


Study shows children in Miami Valley more likely to face hunger than overall population across America

Study shows children in Miami Valley more likely
to face hunger than overall population across America

Child food insecurity rates in The Foodbank Inc’s service area
are higher than overall food insecurity rates

 

(May 1, 2019 Dayton, OH) – The Foodbank, Inc. announced the release of Map the Meal Gap 2019, the latest report by Feeding America® on food insecurity and the cost of food at both the county and congressional district level. It is the only study that provides food insecurity data at the local level.

Map the Meal Gap 2019 reveals that food insecurity exists in every county in The Foodbank’s service area. It also shows that children are more likely to be food insecure, with the child food insecurity rate at 20.7% compared to 15.8% for the overall population for the Miami Valley.

“There isn’t a single state or county in America free from child hunger, and it is within our collective power to change that and ensure that today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America. “The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks is investing in our nation’s future by helping to provide over 146 million meals to children every year. Still, Map the Meal Gap highlights that more must be done. Together food banks, corporations, policymakers, donors, volunteers and advocates can solve hunger.”

“I encourage everyone to visit the website, www.map.feedingamerica.org to find out what hunger looks like in their community and get involved to be part of the solution,” Babineaux-Fontenot continued. “One way is to tell Congress to invest in kids during Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation and increase access to food for kids during the summer. Your voice matters and we can make a difference.”

Overall food insecurity in the Miami Valley ranges from a low of 12% of the population in Preble County up to 17% in Montgomery County.

The analysis also finds that 39% of residents of the Miami Valley who are food insecure are likely ineligible for federal nutrition assistance under current program requirements. This means that many households must rely even more on charitable food assistance such as the The Foodbank.

“Hunger affects the lives of many people in the Miami Valley and Map the Meal Gap sheds light on just how many are struggling,” said Michelle L. Riley, Chief Executive Officer of The Foodbank. “In the land of plenty, there should be healthy food in abundance at every table in every home. Hunger and malnutrition are simply unacceptable. Food insecurity is an ethical issue that is solvable.”

The Foodbank is a member of Feeding America’s hunger-relief network comprised of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs that together provides food assistance to more than 40 million people in the U.S. struggling with hunger. Locally, The Foodbank works with over 100 food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters in Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties. Last year, The Foodbank distributed 12.9 million pounds of food out through partners to those facing food insecurity.

Map the Meal Gap 2019 uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and food price data and analysis provided by Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights. The study is supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen.

Key local findings:

  • In Montgomery County, 90,600 (17%) of the population is food insecure. 21.6% of children in the county struggle with hunger.
  • In Greene County, 21,170 (12.8%) of the population is food insecure. 18.3% of children in the county struggle with hunger.
  • In Preble County, 4,950 (12.0%) of the population is food insecure. 18.8% of children in the county struggle with hunger.

 

The study’s findings underscore the extent of need that remains in communities in the Miami Valley and across the U.S., despite national measures from the USDA that indicate overall improvement.

Dr. Craig Gundersen, Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory and a member of Feeding America’s Technical Advisory Group is the lead researcher of Map the Meal Gap 2019.

This is the ninth consecutive year that Feeding America has conducted the Map the Meal Gap study.

The Map the Meal Gap 2019 interactive map allows policymakers, state agencies, corporate partners, food banks and advocates to develop integrated strategies to fight hunger on a community level.

A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at map.feedingamerica.org.

Join the conversation about Map the Meal Gap 2019 on Twitter using #MealGap.


UN Special Report: US “leads the world in income and wealth inequality”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty published a condemnation of the wealth gap in the United States, citing disparities between the U.S. and other developed nations.

The U.S. has the highest rate of income inequality of Western countries, according to the May 2018 report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Compared to other nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. also has the highest rate of youth poverty, infant mortality, and incarceration.

The report states that the framing of the U.S. as “the land of opportunity” does not match the modern day reality in which the nation has the lowest rate of social mobility of any rich country. The special Rapporteur attributes these statistics to the policy stances of government bodies, writing that “the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power.”

The Foodbank recognizes the interlocking of hunger and poverty and aims to “shorten the line” by helping people rise above the circumstances that lead them to need food assistance. We offer aid to those applying to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other public assistance programs. The Foodbank also employs former inmate: one  third of our current employees were previously incarcerated.

The U.N. Report offers many suggestions to policymakers to address the income gap in the U.S. Key among them is recognizing the social and economic impact of inequality.

“The United States is alone among developed countries in insisting that, while human rights are a fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable health care or growing up in a context of total deprivation,” the report states.


The Foodbank and CareSource Partner up in Mass Food Distributions

UD’s Welcome Stadium on Edwin C. Moses Boulevard is usually bustling with cars lining up to park as people gather to watch the University of Dayton Flyers’ basketball team play against other colleges. The crowd is excited to participate as their local team scores big points.

But, once a year, a different crowd shows up at the stadium’s parking lot. Cars line up in anticipation as The Foodbank and CareSource set up pallets of food that will be given away to everyone in line. This year, on September 28th, the first car got in line at 3:30 am to receive fresh produce. Volunteers hand out items like corn, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, and watermelon as the cars drive through the line and then head back home. The Ohio Poultry Association passes out free cartons of eggs as well.

As the cars go home, they take their fresh produce to their family, hungry and tired. In Montgomery County over 93,000 (or 1 in 6) people struggle with food insecurity. They don’t have enough money to afford a healthy meal for every member of their family. Some may be working two or three jobs just to pay bills, others may have just gotten laid off. Whatever their circumstances, events like this and food pantries in their area are there to lend a helping hand and make sure they don’t go to bed hungry.

This year, 1,702 families came to the mass food distribution at Welcome Stadium and left with food to provide a few more meals on their kitchen table.


Kroger’s Round Up Hunger: An Easy Way to Give

Beginning March 5th, Kroger will give customers the chance to round up their total grocery bill to the nearest dollar. Money raised will benefit The Foodbank of Dayton in local stores.

 

In response to on-going community needs, Kroger is now inviting customers to help bring food to the tables of their hungry neighbors with its Round-Up fundraising campaign, which will be available in all stores beginning Monday, March 5, 2018. Shoppers will now have the option to “round up” their total grocery purchase at the cash register, with 100% of the funds benefiting Kroger Cincinnati/Dayton’s three Ohio-based food bank partners: Freestore Foodbank, Shared Harvest, and The Foodbank.

 

The Foodbank works with food pantries across Montgomery, Greene and Preble counties to feed people who qualify for food assistance. In this service area, nearly 124,000 people struggle to put food on their families’ dinner tables. Funds raised through Kroger’s Round Up Hunger campaign will be used by The Foodbank to provide food to local neighbors in need.

 

Michelle Riley, CEO of The Foodbank, says, “Kroger has been a wonderful partner in all we do. We are excited for this new opportunity as Kroger customers have been so supportive of our efforts in feeding hungry people. One in six individuals living in our community face food insecurity. With Kroger’s support we are able to work toward ensuring that our hungry neighbors in need have access to food to live healthy lives.”

 

“We are very excited to bring this fundraising opportunity to our customers throughout Ohio,” said Erin Rolfes, Corporate Affairs Manager for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton Division. “One in six people in our state struggles with hunger, and Kroger’s Round-Up campaign will help ensure that fewer Ohio families go hungry throughout the year.”


Bank of America 2:1 Matching Campaign

Make Your Donation Stretch Further!

We have some exciting news to share! Through the end of the year, every $1 donated to The Foodbank through the Bank of America Give A Meal program will be matched by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation with $2! That’s right! Your donation of $50 will be matched for a total donation of $150.

Below are instructions for making your dollar stretch to serve as many of our hungry neighbors as possible.
How to Give:

Step 1: Visit www.bankofamerica.com/give

Step 2: After entering your donation amount and clicking donate, enter your billing zip code

Step 3: To ensure your donation will
come directly to us here at The Foodbank,
select “Your Local Food Bank”
when prompted to select a location
to designate a gift. Otherwise,
your donation will be designated
to Feeding America.

Step 4: After making your donation you will receive a tax receipt from Feeding America. It’s that easy!

www.bankofamerica.com/give


Students Lend a Helping Hand through Holiday Aid

Written by Carla Steiger, Volunteer

The leaves are finally down and frosty mornings are nipping fingers and noses.  Thanksgiving is imminent and the winter holidays are in sight, which means that it is time for Holiday Aid, a yearly massive food drive in the Dayton area that runs from October through December.  Holiday Aid is run by volunteers with a “dedication to engaging kids at a young age to donate to others and create a lifelong commitment to helping those who need a hand,” according to Lora Davenport of The Foodbank, the partnering organization of Holiday aid.  Volunteers who work with the drive include four community philanthropists, a coordinator at every school, and Tobin Brothers Moving and Storage, which picks up and delivers the barrels.   Over the course of time, the company has picked up over two million pounds of food collected by students.

This year, 74 local public and private schools will participate in the drive, which contributes food to The Foodbank.   The schools are located in Dayton, Centerville, Huber Heights, Kettering, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Xenia, and Trotwood and run the gamut from preschools and elementary schools to high schools.

Non-perishable foods are collected in barrels and a record of the pounds accumulated at each site is recorded.   Two trophies are awarded to the schools.  One is the most pounds collected per student, and the other is awarded for the most pounds collected by the entire school.

Barbara Heck has been the Holiday Aid Secretary since 1989.  She is a retired administrative assistant from the Miller-Valentine Group, which houses the food barrels in its warehouse in West Carrollton.

“When I started with Holiday Aid I did not realize how great the need is for the donated food.  The drive has grown steadily over time.  In 1989, there were 26 schools. Since then the program has grown to 75 to 90 schools,” she said.  Seeing the participation of the students is deeply moving to this long-time volunteer.  “Some of the students with a passion to help others are among those that need help themselves,” she stated.

Gary Smiga, who began as a board member in the 1990s, has served as President of Holiday Aid for the last ten years.  For thirty six years, he worked in Centerville as Teacher, Principal, Central Office Administrator, and finally, as Superintendent. He retired in 2009 and became the Executive Director of the Montgomery County College Promise program in 2010. In 2015 he assumed the title of Executive Director of the Dayton-Montgomery County Scholarship Program as well.

Smiga is proud of Centerville’s 100% participation in Holiday Aid from all twelve schools.  “Serving Holiday Aid was an extension of what I tried to do every day as an educator…making a positive difference in a young person’s life.  Holiday Aid would not be the success that it is today without the enthusiastic support of our school children, teachers and staff.  We are pleased to also partner with The Foodbank to make sure that the food that is collected gets to the dinner table of the neediest,” he added.

Megan, a Student Council Officer from Centerville High School, stated, “We always like to promote a culture of compassion by giving back through the Holiday Aid food drive.”  Jackson, another Student Council Officer, seconded that opinion, saying “Doing the Food Drive around Thanksgiving is a great way to get students involved in the idea of giving and sharing with those in need.”

The students do make a huge contribution.  Last year alone, Holiday Aid collected 66,679 pounds of food, which translated into 55,565 meals.

For participating schools, the race is on to top that total this year and bring home the coveted trophies.

 


Drive Thru Food Pantry

Members of The Foodbank’s Board helped break ground during the ceremony on September 8th

Drive Thru Food Pantry

Written by Carla Steiger, Foodbank Volunteer

After a period of indecision and gray skies, the sun decided to come out and kiss the groundbreaking ceremony for the new drive-thru food pantry at The Foodbank.   The planned opening of the drive-thru pantry will take place in January of 2018 and will serve the needs of people in the Miami Valley.

A smiling crowd of about sixty people gathered to hear the opening remarks of Foodbank CEO Michelle L. Riley.  The group included donors, community leaders, and volunteers.  Riley’s talk in addition to celebrating the groundbreaking of the drive-thru, covered several topics including the distribution of food from The Foodbank to the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, respectively.  In addition to thanking the many Foodbank sponsors that attended the event, Riley also briefly explained the metrics for measuring hunger in Montgomery County and elsewhere. Several pictures were taken of the attendees donning hard hats and plunging their shovels into a large dirt mound to celebrate the event.

Jeff King, General Manager, Dayton Office, Austin Dicke, Project Manager of Special Projects, and Project Manager Jeff Comer of Ferguson Construction, the company that built the original Foodbank building in 2013, were there to mark the event.  The opening of the pantry drive-thru is a very positive development and “a great opportunity to expand what they do in serving the Dayton, Community,” according to King.  Dicke commented that they really enjoyed working with Michelle Riley in the planning of current building and look forward to working with her on the creation of the addition.

The Foodbank staff was pleased that Walmart Executive Stan Miller was on hand to celebrate the day, since Walmart is a major sponsor of The Foodbank.   Miller, who began his career as an associate in the garden center of the store in Morgantown, West Virginia, is now the Store Manager of the Franklin, Ohio Walmart.

According to Miller, Walmart has partnered with Feeding America for nine years and working with The Foodbank of Dayton fills him with joy.  “I love the reason for this institution.  It’s so simple.  We don’t believe that anyone should go hungry,” he exclaimed.

Kettering teacher, Robb Fogg, and students helped build the aquaponics system

New Aquaponics System

Proud teacher Robb Fogg was at the groundbreaking with a cohort of eight students from Kettering Alternative School Program.  They had just completed an aquaponics system for The Foodbank.   The students explained that the process at its most basic level has the waste from the fish being captured by bacteria and converted into fertilizer for the plants in the system.  The project was conceptualized one year ago, and the proposal to build a system was presented to an enthusiastic Riley.   The students spent several months building the prototype and making adjustments on the black pipe and barrel array according to Riley’s specifications.

The grant to complete the project at the Foodbank was provided by the Ardmore Institute of Health and the Montgomery County Solid Waste District.  Assistance was also provided by University of Dayton engineering professors Dr. Kellie Schneider and Dr. Felix Fernando, stated Fogg.   Justin Moore, an aquaponics professional, helped inspire the students to build a new kind of bio filter for the system.

Robust green lettuce leaves shimmied in the slight breeze and were proof of the success of the endeavor.  According to Fogg, who has been an artist and teacher for ov

Kettering student checks the aquaponics system and the plants it feeds

er 25 years, this was a best case of hands-on learning that combined both engineering and biology.  According to Fogg, “We love to solve real life problems and even now are trying to find ways to improve the system at The Foodbank. We also have already started on a project to help make the products from the aquaponics system be utilized more effectively in our food desert.”


Food Insecurity – Map the Meal Gap 2017

According to Feeding America’s annual report, Map the Meal Gap 2017, Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties have a 16.8% food insecurity rate compared to the national average of 12.7%.

A household is food insecure if there is not access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. Each year, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) measures the extent and severity of food insecurity in households through a nationally representative survey. These statistics are released in a report called Household Food Security in the United States and are based on a measure of food security derived from responses to questions about conditions and behaviors known to characterize households having difficulty meeting basic food needs. Results from this survey were released today by Feeding America through Map the Meal Gap 2017, reporting for 2015.

Key local findings:

  • 1 in 6 people in the Miami Valley don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
  • 1 in 5 children are food insecure locally.

In The Foodbank, Inc.’s service area of Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties, 123,910 people report food insecurity, 16.8% of the population. Of this number, 36,650 are children under the age of 18; a rate of 22.3%. The rate of food insecurity in the Miami Valley has decreased by only .4% since 2014; less than half a percent.

“Hunger affects the lives of so many people in the Miami Valley and Map the Meal Gap sheds light on just how many are struggling,” said Michelle L. Riley, CEO of The Foodbank. “The Foodbank is continually working to make sure everyone who needs help has access to food.”

Nationally, rates of food insecurity were higher for Households with children headed by a single woman (30.3%) or a single man (22.4%), Households headed by Black, non-Hispanics (21.5%) and Hispanics (19.1%), and Low-income households with incomes below 185% of the poverty threshold (32.8%).

The Map the Meal Gap 2017 interactive map allows policymakers, state agencies, corporate partners and individual advocates to develop integrated strategies to fight hunger on a community level.

A summary of the findings, an interactive map of the United States, and the full report are available at www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.


Urban garden takes root at The Foodbank

By Amber Krosel

 

Editor’s note: This guest post has been provided by Dayton personal injury law firm Dyer, Garofalo, Mann, & Schultz, which helps residents in Montgomery County and beyond with legal claims for product liability, nursing home abuse, workers’ compensation, Social Security and disability, and more.

After two years, the community served by The Foodbank in Dayton is really starting to dig into its new urban garden. The 40-bed garden grows fresh fruits and vegetables that are later donated to 23 sites in the tri-county area. Food grown is given to local pantries and shelters at no charge; recipients just have to make at or below 200% of the poverty line to access it.

The garden has come a long way since its small start in milk crates. Now, it’s on a blacktop at The Foodbank property and has its own manager, a master gardener, who helped grow 2,000 pounds of food last year. The most popular offerings have included lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and herbs, but people who benefit from the garden also always love hardy potatoes, while others enjoy more vibrant options, like eggplant and mustard or collard greens.

James Hoffer, Master Gardener, started off as a volunteer 18 months ago at The Foodbank in the original garden and has been working the past six months as the manager in the new space. Gardening was always a passion of his since spending countless hours on his grandparents’ 2-acre plot from the time he was in diapers to growing up learning how to care for the land, animals, and plants that inhabited his World War II veteran grandfather’s garden sanctuary.

Hoffer decided to become a master gardener after inheriting his grandfather’s seed collection when he passed away, some of which had been in the family for over a century.

“I wanted to work in this particular urban garden because of the mission The Foodbank strives toward,” Hoffer said. “The idea of growing food to feed hungry people and sharing the knowledge with others is the most rewarding way I feel I can honor all the lessons I had been taught.”

And Hoffer is spreading that gardening joy through these lessons. A high school group, for instance, is building an aquaponics center for The Foodbank, which helps gets these students out of the classroom and learning more about healthy food and how it helps our residents in need. Other volunteers take part in helping with The Foodbank’s mobile farmers market, which visits places where people with disabilities and seniors live.

Senior hunger is something that is increasing in the area as more baby boomers are retiring, and their retirement funds aren’t able to cover everything. Food stamps, if they receive them at all, don’t cover much of their needs, especially if they have to pay for medicine, housing bills, and anything else that comes along with aging.

And it’s not just seniors that need this help. Nearly 124,000 people in the tri-county area have trouble with hunger, with 36,650 of them being children, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap. Family hunger also isn’t just about children who are going hungry — oftentimes, local programs will help kids, such as a box given to those in kindergarten through third grade to make sure they don’t go hungry over the weekend, but they only have enough food to help the child.

A lot of pantries out there can help the whole family, and all of us are looking for new ways to better serve them. That’s where the urban garden comes in.

The Foodbank is inviting the community to help grow its urban garden, both its actual crops and its size, eventually. While last year The Foodbank saw 2,600 volunteers, many assisting with the mobile farmers market, we could use much more help in the garden. One of the biggest challenges is getting consistent and knowledgeable volunteers who stick around, Hoffer says, as the garden relies heavily on volunteers to grow the produce.

“While most of them are enthusiastic, including the college students, many have little or no experience. I am always happy to share what I know with beginners, but they are typically only here a few times and we start over with more beginners,” Hoffer said. “Having a core group of consistent volunteers for the growing season would definitely ease some of this challenge in growing the maximum amount of produce in our garden space.”

Hoffer said that while the garden can’t grow year-round, they do use some extension methods to get nine or 10 months of good production. That’s plenty of opportunities to help most of the year.

 

Love the idea of fresh produce and want to try your hand at growing your own? Hoffer offers some tips:

 

  • Join an established urban community garden. You’ll likely find some knowledgeable people who would love to share the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
  • If you decide to grow in your own backyard, start small and only with a few crops. That way, you can expand as your base of knowledge does.
  • Hot tip: You can grow almost any fruit or vegetable in Ohio except for the tropical varieties. Some of the easiest to start with are tomatoes, beans, carrots, lettuce, and peppers.

 

Good luck! And if you’d like to volunteer, visit thefoodbankdayton.org/take-action/.