Montgomery County and The Foodbank Inc. unveiled a new refrigerated box truck this week to help get perishable, nutritional food directly to those who can’t afford it or are without a nearby source.
“This new truck is part of our continued investment in people, providing services that combat poverty and improve the lives of our most disadvantaged citizens,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge. “While we have made progress on addressing food insecurity and improving access to healthy food in our community, there remains much work to be done.”
MORE: As grocers build in suburbs, food deserts grow in Dayton
Dodge said a sixth of the community, including many children, don’t know where their next meal is coming from in an area where more than 93,000 people are affected by food insecurity.
More than 16 percent of Ohio households said they hadn’t been able to afford food during a previous 12 months when questioned by the Food Research & Action Center for its 2016-2017 study on hunger in America.
Area families with children faced a greater struggle.
More than 20 percent of households with children in the Dayton region reported food hardship, worse than three quarters of the nation’s other metropolitan statistical areas, according to the Food Research & Action Center study.
In November, Montgomery County commissioners approved spending more than $170,000 over the next three years for the 24-foot-long Freightliner.
RELATED: Dayton Foodbank ranked No. 2 in the nation
The truck was needed to help The Foodbank pick up and distribute an unplanned flood of food coming from a federal government bailout of farmers hit with trade tariffs.
The new truck, which can carry 10 skids of food, will serve as a mobile farmer’s market in both rural and urban communities without a brick and mortar food pantries, according to The Foodbank.
Of all U.S. households, 2.3 million — or about 2.2 percent — live more than a mile from a supermarket and don’t have access to a vehicle. An estimated 11.8 percent of American households were food insecure at least some time during the year in 2017, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members, according to the U.S. Department to Agriculture.
MORE: Gem City Market hits membership goal, works with Premier for 800 more
The truck will be used primarily in Montgomery County, where more than 93,210 people report food insecurity, but also at times in Greene and Preble counties where another 27,000 people in the The Foodbank’s area go without reliable access to affordable, nutritious food, according to government statistics.
“The generous gift of this new truck will help The Foodbank increase distribution of food to Montgomery County communities faced with food insecurity, bringing food to where people need it most,” said Michelle Riley, CEO of The Foodbank. “We are grateful to have generous partners like Montgomery County, who are committed to tackling the challenges facing our community and improving the lives of the people we serve.”