The 2022 Year in Review

The 2022 Year in Review

Evolving to meet changing needs

By Amber Wright, Marketing Coordinator

 

As 2022 draws to a close and the new year waits just around the corner, it is a great time to look back at our progress. Quarantines and other COVID-19 emergency protocols are coming to a close, but communities still struggle to mitigate the long-term effects of the pandemic. We have remained committed to our mission of alleviating hunger in the community through existing programs while also forming new partnerships to meet the changing needs of the neighbors we serve.

 

The Foodbank Programs

We have continued to support our communities with programs that target specific gaps in services. We send mobile pantries to high-need areas that often do not house pantries of their own. Since January, we have sent out 250 of these mobiles, averaging about 21 a month.

Our weekly, onsite Drive-Thru Produce Pantry has also remained in effect since it was opened. Operations originally began as a disaster relief measure in response to the Memorial Day tornadoes, and later the COVID-19 pandemic. For the fiscal year 2022, we served 650,843 neighbors and distributed more than 15 million pounds of food. Almost 4 million pounds of that was fresh fruit and vegetables, an integral part of a healthy diet often inaccessible to those experiencing hunger.

Another program that has continued to meet gaps in services is our Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which provides monthly shelf-stable food boxes to food-insecure seniors. These boxes contain shelf-stable food tailored to the needs of aging adults. The Foodbank distributed 11,624 of these boxes in fiscal year 2022.

The Good-to-Go Backpack program, which we continue to operate in partnership with some Dayton Public Schools, provides kid-friendly snacks for children in food-insecure households to take home over the weekend. A personalized “love note” with words of encouragement is always included in each of these bags. In the last fiscal year, we provided nearly 33,000 of these backpack bags.

The Foodbank’s Urban Garden continues to thrive. This year it has produced 7,191 pounds of fresh produce, including tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons, okra, pears, cucumbers, pumpkins, and more. The compost program has diverted 74,018 pounds of food spoilage from the landfill, cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions and providing rich nutrients for our garden beds. The eliminated carbon footprint is equivalent to 44,952 passenger vehicles driven for one year!

Many of our neighbors found themselves out of work and unable to pay for food or other critical necessities, causing lines at hunger-relief organizations to increase dramatically. We aided our remaining partners in meeting that need by providing food free of charge. We have continued to do that amidst the current year’s record inflation, supply chain issues and rising costs for food and fuel.

As a result of these policy changes, our partner agencies have had the time and support needed to regain their footing. We have slowly begun stepping away from our role as emergency disaster relief by scaling back our Drive-Thru distribution to its normal frequency.

 

Expansions at The Foodbank

Demands on hunger-relief organizations have increased significantly in recent years and The Foodbank has expanded to meet those needs. Our original building was designed to hold a maximum of 15 million pounds of food, but in fiscal year 2021 we distributed more than 17 million pounds. When we started distributing more food than our warehouse was designed to handle, we immediately made plans for building expansions.

In January 2022, the construction of a 6,000-square-foot building expansion was completed. This became our new volunteer area, dedicated to sorting and packing food for programs such as CSFP and Good-to-Go backpacks. It also allowed room to house and sort shelf-stable food donations for distribution.

More recently in August of 2022, we finished the construction of a brand-new freezer and cooler. Approximating 4,700 square feet, this has doubled our storage capacity for fresh foods. This allows us to store and distribute healthier forms of nourishment like meat, dairy, and produce.

Another noteworthy addition is a 30,000 square foot parking lot, granting us a designated space for volunteers to park on the property along with our new team members.

 

New Programs and Partnerships

This year has brought new programs and partnerships as we continue to adapt to life post-COVID-19. The pandemic demonstrated the importance of collaboration when building the social safety net, which we will continue to strive for in years to come. In 2022 we have teamed up with several organizations and introduced new programs to meet evolving needs.

One such partnership is with the well-known food delivery service DoorDash. In March, we teamed up to deliver emergency food boxes and fresh produce to neighbors experiencing transportation as a barrier to food assistance. It has since expanded to deliver CSFP (senior) boxes to program participants who are shut in.

Expanding on our efforts to alleviate childhood hunger, we have partnered with Edison Elementary of the Dayton Public School system, which opened a pantry on campus to aid food-insecure students and their families. Another school has already begun the process to do the same.

We also started working with 10 branches of the Dayton Metro Library in Dayton, Miamisburg, Huber Heights, Vandalia, and Trotwood. These locations are now partners that distribute emergency food boxes to neighbors in need.

Another notable partnership gained this year is with the Keener Farms Charitable Organization (KFCO).  This new charity purchases cattle from local farmers and processes it into ground beef to be distributed to our neighbors. This is particularly helpful during a time of soaring meat prices, which hinders the ability of some of our neighbors to access adequate protein for their diets.

Other efforts have been made to address negative health outcomes often tied to hunger or poor diet. Premier Health has joined Dayton Children’s Hospital in screening their patients for food insecurity. Those that test positive are screened for a monthly food box and directed to our other services. We also partnered with Diabetes Dayton, the only local charity that does outreach for the chronic illness which is also commonly linked with food insecurity.

We have launched new initiatives within our own organization as well.

As treatment centers, halfway houses, and sober living continue to emerge, so does a new kind of need. There has become a pool of people living in residential centers as they continue to seek help for mental health issues, drug/alcohol addiction, and other ailments. It is common for this part of the population to be without transportation, restricted from leaving, or tied up with required classes, rendering them unable to access any of our services when SNAP dollars are not able to stretch far enough. In response, we started a program for case managers to be able to pick up emergency food boxes as needed. This alleviates the strain on case managers and tackles food insecurity among the neighbors they assist.

The Beverly K. Greenehouse in our Urban Garden is a new development that recently had its first anniversary. November 3rd marked one year since the first lettuce seeds were planted. It has been used to grow roughly a dozen varieties of lettuce year-round. To date, we have harvested roughly 30,000 heads of lettuce, which we distributed to our partner agencies and directly to our neighbors in our weekly Drive-Thru.

We have also embraced new Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) transformational initiatives. A two-day Racial Equity Matters workshop by the Racial Equity Institute was provided for all staff. Our goal is for all Foodbank employees to better understand racism in its institutional and structural forms. Moving away from a focus on personal bigotry and bias, this workshop presented a historical, cultural, and structural analysis of racism. The Foodbank also retained a highly respected local EDI consultant to assess our organization and help us align our work with our in-house EDI initiatives.

 

Moving Forward

Our organization has adapted to several major challenges within the last few years, including natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, and most recently, a challenging economic climate. These all presented unique barriers, which we were able to overcome. The ability to pivot and adapt has allowed us to reshape our services to meet the need and we will continue to do so as long as the need exists.

Moving forward, we plan to take a more holistic approach to address food insecurity. Our focus will expand more on the conditions which cause people to seek food assistance. We have formed new partnerships with organizations outside of the hunger relief network and will strive to keep doing so over the next few years so we can address the issue of poverty in more comprehensive ways.

As always, we remain committed to the pantries, shelters, meal sites, and other local agencies that we partner with. Our original mission of acquiring and distributing food will remain our top priority.

 

Special thanks to our partners, who make our work possible!

The Foodbank, Inc. Partner Agencies

              • AFL-CIO Labor Pantry
              • Abundant Season Pantry
              • Apostolic Lighthouse Church
              • Aspire Church
              • Belmont United Methodist
              • BOGG Ministries
              • Camden FISH
              • Catholic Social Services
              • Central Christian Church
              • Common Good Pantry of Preble County
              • Community Action Mission Program (CAMP)
              • Dakota Center
              • Daybreak
              • Dayton Christian Center
              • Dayton Children’s Medical Center
              • Dayton Cooks!
              • Dayton Metro Library (10 branches)
              • Diabetes Dayton
              • Downtown Dayton Initiative-GESMV
              • Emmanuel Lutheran Church
              • Emmanuel SVDP Conference
              • Evangel Church of God
              • Expressions of Life, Inc.
              • Fairborn FISH
              • Fairview United Methodist Church
              • Family Violence Prevention Center
              • Fellowship Tabernacle
              • First Baptist Church of New Lebanon – Village Pantry
              • First Dawn Food Pantry
              • FISH Southeast
              • FISH Wayne Township
              • Five Rivers Health Centers
              • Food 4 Families
              • Foodbank Mobile Markets
              • Girls on the Run
              • Go Ministries International
              • Good Neighbor House
              • Goodwill Easter Seals – Miracle Clubhouse
              • Greater Galilee Baptist Church
              • Greene County FISH Pantry
              • Greenmont Oak Park Church -Neighbor to Neighbor Pantry
              • Harmony Creek
              • Harris Memorial CME Church
              • Have a Gay Day, Inc.
              • Hearth Community Place
              • Homefull
              • House of Bread
              • Ignited Missions
              • Jamestown UMC
              • Lewisburg Area Outreach
              • Liberty Worship Center Helping Hands
              • Maranatha Worship Center
              • Marketplace Movement Pantry
              • McKinley United Methodist Church – Helen Brinkley Pantry
              • Memorial United Methodist Church – MUM Food Pantry
              • MVHO – Miami Valley Housing Opportunities
              • Miami Valley Meals
              • Miamisburg Helping Hands
              • Carmel
              • Njoy! Njoy!
              • Northeast Churches
              • Northmont FISH
              • North Riverdale Church
              • Northwest Dayton (SVDP)
              • Precious Life Center
              • RCCG Dominion Center
              • Shepherd’s Hand’s – Brookville
              • Shiloh Church UCC
              • South Fairborn Baptist Church – Lifting Up With Love Pantry
              • Spring Valley United Methodist Church
              • John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
              • John’s UCC
              • Mary’s Church – SVDP
              • Paul United Methodist Church
              • Peter RC Church
              • SVDP – DePaul Center
              • SVDP – Gateway
              • SVDP – Safe Haven
              • SVDP – Supportive Housing
              • Storehouse Food Pantry – PFI
              • Thrive Together
              • O.P.S
              • Trinity Lighthouse Church-TLC
              • Triple C Community Outreach
              • United AME Church
              • United Community Brethren
              • Vineyard Christian Fellowship
              • Volunteers of America
              • Wayman AME
              • Wesley Community Center
              • With God’s Grace
              • With God’s Grace – Free Store
              • Xenia Nazarene – Kinsey Food Pantry
              • YMCA of Greater Dayton
              • YWCA of Dayton
              • YWCA Preble County Shelter
              • Zion Baptist Church

Senior Food Boxes help increase food security among older adults

Senior Food Boxes help increase food security among older adults

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, or CSFP, provides boxes of nutritious food to low-income seniors

By Emily Gallion, Grant & Metrics Manager/Advocacy Manager, and Caitlyn McIntosh, Volunteer/Intake Support

Eating a healthy, well balanced diet is something we all strive to do, especially as we get older and make adjustments to our needs. With aging comes dietary changes, and purchasing diet-specific foods can create a financial burden on seniors already living within a fixed income.

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), also known as the Senior Food Box Program, is a United States Department of Agriculture program designed to supplement the health of low-income older adults.

CSFP provides a monthly box of a variety of food, including canned fruits and vegetables, shelf stable milk, canned protein, peanut butter, and cheese. Seniors enrolled in this program receive one box per month free of charge. The USDA selects and purchases the food used in this program, which The Foodbank administers with the oversight of the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.

Nationwide, the CSFP program serves about 619,000 older adults annually. According to Feeding America, each box costs the USDA $27 and results in a product with an average retail value of $50. The nutritious food available in the box helps prevent health consequences of food insecurity, including hospital stays and nursing home placements.

One 2019 study of CSFP clients in Rhode Island found that 84.9% of those surveyed were found to be food insecure prior to enrolling in the program. After enrolling, overall rates of food insecurity dropped to 64.1%.

The CSFP program is especially important to protect the health of older adults. According to the Food Research Action Center, older adults who experience food insecurity are 19% more likely to have high blood pressure, 57% more likely to have congestive heart failure, 65% more likely to be diabetic, and 66% more likely to have experienced a heart attack.

The Foodbank currently distributes CSFP boxes at 21 different locations across Montgomery and Greene counties. These include apartment complexes, senior living communities, and the drive thru at our warehouse. These distribution sites are selected with accessibility in mind. Placing food directly into cars or distributing directly in living communities makes transporting food much easier.

Last year, The Foodbank distributed over 2.3 million pounds of CSFP food. Over 1,000 seniors were enrolled in the program.

Because CSFP is administered through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, it is the only Foodbank program that has an application process. To enroll in the program, you must be 60 years of age or older and living at or below 130% of the federal poverty level. To see if you qualify, check your income against the chart below:

2021 CSFP Income Guidelines

Household Size Annual Income Monthly Income Weekly Income
1 $16,744 $1,396 $322
2 $22,646  $1,888  $436
3 $28,548  $2,379 $549
4 $34,450  $2,871 $663
5 $40,352 $3,363 $776
6 $46,254 $3,855  $890 
7 $52,156 $4,347 $1,003
8 $58,058  $4,839  $1,117
For each additional member, add… 5,902 $492 $114

You may fill out an application at our office or have one mailed to you by calling Emily Riley at 937-461-0265 x54.

 


Client Story: Charlene

Client Story: Charlene

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

Client interview by Katie Heinkel, Mobile Pantries and Data Entry Assistant

Staff at The Foodbank recently had the opportunity to talk to Charlene, a Foodbank client, at our on-site Drive Thru Food Pantry.

Charlene, who is 62, attended The Foodbank’s Drive Thru March 25 to pick up her Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) box. She brought her neighbor, who is also enrolled in the program, to pick up her box as well.

CSFP, also known as the Senior Food Box program, is a United States Department of Agriculture program that distributes food to low-income seniors so that they can have a balanced, healthy diet. The Foodbank facilitates food distribution for this program, which is administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Food assistance is especially important to older adults, who are at higher risk for complications related to food insecurity. Food insecure seniors are more likely to underutilize prescribed medications, face limitations in activity, and experience chronic health conditions.

Charlene has been enrolled in CSFP for two years now. She said she likes everything that comes in the box, but her favorite is the block cheese, which she said makes good grilled cheese and mac and cheese. In addition to the items in the box, which are primarily shelf stable, The Foodbank distributes bonus food items on days we host our CSFP distributions.

She said she was at the Drive Thru to make sure she had enough food for herself and the kids. Currently, she has four people living in her household, and she is living on a fixed income. She has a total of 7 grandkids.

“You’ve got to do what you have to do when you have kids,” she said.

Charlene said she likes using The Foodbank’s Drive Thru because it is convenient. Because staff places the food in clients’ vehicles, she doesn’t have to worry about getting out of the car and carrying groceries.

This was our Drive Thru’s original purpose: to provide an accessible way for CSFP clients, many of whom have mobility challenges, to pick up their food boxes. Over time, the purpose of the Drive Thru has expanded to include disaster relief and more widespread food assistance, but we still host weekly CSFP Drive Thrus.

Charlene encouraged everyone who needed help with food to seek it out.

“Don’t be ashamed, because everyone needs help,” she said. “Times are hard, and we are all here in the same boat, so you don’t have to be embarrassed.”

In March, The Foodbank distributed 973 CSFP boxes in Montgomery and Greene County. To qualify for this program, you must be over the age of 60 and have an income at or below 130% of the federal poverty line. To check if you qualify and to obtain an application, visit http://thefoodbankdayton.org/needfood/.

Questions? Contact Program Manager Katie Ly at (937) 461-0265 x33 or Kly@thefoodbankdayton.org.


For older adults, hunger hides in plain sight

For older adults, hunger hides in plain sight

Poverty, mobility challenges, and health expenses contribute to food insecurity among seniors. Here’s how federal programs and The Foodbank help out.

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

Many of us already know that older adults are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. But the pandemic isn’t the only health crisis impacting older adults.

While Americans may not think of hunger as an issue that affects our seniors, they face higher rates of food insecurity than the general population. In Ohio, over one in ten seniors struggle with food insecurity.

This is of particular concern in the era of COVID-19. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, the availability and affordability of food can impact nearly every aspect of an individual’s health. The pandemic has disrupted senior’s food sources by forcing the closure of community centers and other programs older low-income adults use to access food.

With 28 percent of Americans living without any savings at all, any economic disruption or short-term emergency can make it difficult for individuals — including seniors, who often live on fixed-incomes — to obtain enough food to eat.

With aging comes dietary changes that require a higher intake of nutrients such as protein and calcium. Unfortunately, one in two seniors are at risk for malnutrition related to difficulty chewing and swallowing, losses or changes in appetite, and physical or mental health challenges.

Eating nutrient specific foods creates a financial burden on senior households who are already living with income constraints. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, also known as the senior box program, was created by the USDA to meet the specific dietary needs of the senior population.

Congress appropriated $222.891 million for CSFP in fiscal year 2019 in order to provide this box at no cost to participants. The program is available in all 50 states to individuals living at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty line.

The Foodbank, Inc. distributes 1,020 boxes to seniors in Montgomery and Greene counties at 18 different distribution sites. To enroll in the senior box program, prospective recipients must fill out an application and meet the income requirements, both of which can be found on our website.

The pandemic has had a detrimental effect on families across the world, so it was no surprise to us when applications for the CSFP program came pouring in. Food banks have a limited caseload of seniors they are able to serve through this program each month. We reached our capacity for this program on March 12, 2020.

Once the program reaches capacity, we are still able to take applications and place them on a waitlist. As spots open up, they are filled on a first-come-first-serve basis. At the time of writing this post, there are still 95 people on the CSFP waitlist.

People who are waitlisted or declined from the program are still eligible to receive food through other Foodbank programs, however. We regularly refer individuals to their local pantry, Mobile Farmers Market, or our Drive Thru Food Pantry when they are not yet able to or not eligible to receive a CSFP box. We also bring boxes of non-federal food to our senior food box distributions so nobody goes home without something to eat.

Another federal program that benefits seniors is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps. SNAP is available to all adults who meet income guidelines of 130 percent of the federal poverty limit, or $12,760 annually for a household of one.

SNAP is an especially valuable tool in the fight against food insecurity because it allows recipients to have purchasing power. A senior who has specific dietary restrictions is able to purchase the food they need directly at the store. This approach has economic benefits as well: every $1 provided through SNAP generates $1.50-$1.80 in economic activity, according to 2019 calculations from the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (2018 data).

However, there are particular challenges to using SNAP to combat hunger among our seniors. Participation in this program for adults over the age of 60 is particularly low. To apply for SNAP, potential recipients must use a phone or computer, print off and mail an application, or be able to find application assistance with a local agency.

Due in part to these obstacles, it is estimated that only 2 in 5 eligible seniors participate in the program, according to the National Council on Aging.

SNAP utilization rates are much lower for older adults in Ohio.

In addition to the barriers to apply, seniors who receive SNAP benefits must visit the grocery store to use them. This presents a risk of exposure to COVID-19 for vulnerable seniors, and can also be difficult for older adults who do not have transportation or who are living with a disability. About one in three food insecure seniors are disabled.

While all individuals who are food insecure face an increased risk of certain health outcomes, seniors face a unique situation. According to the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), older adults living with food insecurity experience increased rates of a myriad of health problems, including asthma, congestive heart failure, hypertension, malnutrition, depression, and obesity resulting from consuming high-calorie/low nutrient food.

Older adults, who often live on fixed incomes and struggle with high medical costs, also utilize a number of dangerous coping mechanisms to stretch their budget, including forgoing necessary medications and preventative medical treatment, leading to higher medical costs and worse health in the long term.

Data from FRAC shows that older adults who are food insecure are much more likely to stretch their household budget by rationing or discontinuing prescribed medications.

Are you or somebody you know in need of assistance? The following resources may help:

  • For more information about our CSFP Program, contact Katie Ly, Programs Manager, at KLy@thefoodbankdayton.org and 937-461-0265 x33, or Yiselle Heredia, Data Entry/CSFP Specialist at YHeredia@thefoodbankdayton.org and 937-461-0265 x19
  • The Foodbank holds Mobile Farmers Markets in many locations in the community. Visit our website to view our schedule.
  • Anyone in need of food assistance may also visit our weekly onsite drive thru. Hours can be found on our website as well as our social media channels
  • For SNAP application assistance, contact Colette Looney, SNAP Coordinator, at CLooney@thefoodbankdayton.org and 937-461-0265 x37