VOICES: Valley Food Relief and the root causes of food insecurity

At The Foodbank, we provide food to a network of over 100 hunger relief partners across Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties. Last year, we distributed over 15 million pounds of food to over 650,000 of our neighbors, and we run supplemental programs through The Foodbank to meet gaps in services and support communities disproportionately impacted by food insecurity.

As the Miami Valley has experienced increased need for food assistance over the past three years, we are very proud of what The Foodbank’s network of partner agencies, team, volunteers, and donors have accomplished to meet the need. While food pantries across our community continue to expand and improve operations to alleviate hunger, we know that food insecurity will not be solved with food alone.

In keeping with this understanding, The Foodbank will launch our new five-year strategic plan in January centered on a new mission, “Eliminating Hunger and its Root Causes.” This mission will focus on three pillars: Advocacy, Re-entry, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We will continue this work in tandem with our food distribution services, which are, and will continue to be, vital to meeting emergency food needs in our community.

To create long-term social change for our community, we must also advocate for policies that increase food security, support our neighbors experiencing poverty, and create a stronger, healthier society for all.

When we discuss issues of food justice, it is critical that we center our work in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in order to address the way that poverty, food, and racial inequity intersect. Countless research has shown that people of color face higher rates of food insecurity than their white peers. Feeding America has estimated that over 24% of Black households experienced food insecurity in 2020.

Across the nation, formerly incarcerated individuals experience several barriers to gaining meaningful employment, leading to high rates of food insecurity and ultimately higher rates of recidivism, health care expenditures, and other inequities. At The Foodbank, we believe that paying a sustainable wage is critical to reducing poverty and food insecurity. We are grateful to offer an entry-level wage of $18 an hour and offer fully paid healthcare benefits to our staff along with a flexible four-day work week. Building in these supports helps create an environment where everyone can thrive.

We are grateful for our partnership with the Dayton Daily News, who, for over 40 years has supported the Valley Food Relief Campaign. 100% of funds donated to Valley Food Relief support The Foodbank’s food purchase program, which helps supplement the donated product we receive. These funds go to purchasing food such as frozen protein, fresh vegetables, special diet items, and kid-friendly foods.

When you donate to The Foodbank, it is important to us that you understand the impact of your support. Our organization has received recognition at the national level for our financial accountability and impact, including four stars on Charity Navigator and a Guidestar Platinum rating.

To support this campaign, visit thefoodbankdayton.org/donate and select Valley Food Relief. We are thankful for every dollar donated as we know every contribution — no matter the size — represents your belief in a hunger-free community.

- The Foodbank Team

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