Montgomery County will fund a new truck for The Foodbank to battle local hunger

Montgomery County Commissioners approved the purchase of a truck that The Foodbank will use pick up food and distribute it at mobile farmers markets. SUBMITTED
Caption
Montgomery County Commissioners approved the purchase of a truck that The Foodbank will use pick up food and distribute it at mobile farmers markets. SUBMITTED

On the eve of the Montgomery County Food Summit, county commissioners approved spending more than $170,000 to help fight food insecurity locally.

The money will purchase a truck for The Foodbank to pick up and distribute an unplanned flood of food resulting from a government bailout over the summer of farmers hit with trade tariffs.

“We’ve been receiving increased product, and it’s perishable food — gallons of milk, protein items, fresh produce,” said Lee Lauren Truesdale, The Foodbank’s development director. “This is in excess of what we normally distribute.”

The truck will be used primarily in Montgomery County, where more than 93,000 people are affected by food insecurity, but also 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.

» RELATED: As grocers build in suburbs, food deserts grow in Dayton

An estimated 11.8 percent, or roughly 15 million U.S. households, were food insecure in 2017, having difficulty at some time providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Though food security is on average improving nationwide and in the Buckeye State, Ohio’s insecure percentage — 13.7 percent — is among 11 states where the prevalence is statistically significantly higher than the national average, according to the Agriculture Department’s 2017 report.

The new truck will serve area residents — many of whom may be older and immobile — in both rural and urban communities without a brick and mortar food pantry, Truesdale said.

» RELATED: Job training and feeding the needy? Here’s how this award-winning local program does both

Among others, the truck will transport food to mobile farmers markets in Dayton on both the east and west sides and at Sinclair College, in Eaton, outside Jamestown, at Lewisburg, Spring Valley, in Wilberforce at Central State University, Yellow Springs and in rural Xenia.

Because so many people in the region don’t have reliable access to transporation, the truck will fill a distribution gap, said Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge.

“All these little things help. No question about it. We need to be proactive and do everything we can possibly do to help these people that can’t get good food,” she said.

The truck’s purchase will come from Human Services Levy funds.

More details about the mobile food distribution program will be announced this morning at the opening of the 8th Annual Food Summit. This year’s theme, “From Farm to Fork: Growing a Stronger Food System,” will focus on local growing and food distribution.

The event’s keynote speakers are Nancy Williams of No More Empty Pots, a grassroots non-profit in Omaha, Neb. that collaborates with public and private organizations, businesses, communities, and entrepreneurs to strengthen local and regional food systems, and Brian Raison, an assistant professor and field specialist with The Ohio State University Department of Extension.

» MORE: Lots of color, lots of windows: How Gem City Market will light up northwest Dayton

» MORE: Montgomery Co. Commissioner named '2018 Local Food Hero'

8th Annual Food Summit

Wednesday, Nov. 14

Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center, 1000 N. Keowee

Schedule:

8:30 – 9 a.m., Registration (Lobby)

9 – 9:30 a.m., Opening (Sanctuary)

Welcome, Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge Opening Comments, Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper

Dayton City Commissioners Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph Ambassador Tony Hall

9:30 – 10:30 a.m., Health | Hunger | Equity Panel (Sanctuary)

Maleka James, PHDMC – Facilitator

Anthony Goodwin, ProMedica Toledo

Gina McFarlane-El, Five Rivers Health Centers Rachel Riddiford, Dayton Children’s Hospital

10:30 – 10:45 a.m., Break

10:45 am – Noon, Race | Policy | Opportunity (Cafeteria)

Etana Jacobi, Hall Hunger Initiative

Noon – 1 p.m., Lunch (Cafeteria)

Visit Exhibition Tables

1 – 1:50 p.m., Keynote (Sanctuary)

Nancy Williams, No More Empty Pots

Brian Raison, OSU Extension – Moderator

1:50 – 2 p.m., Break

2 – 3 p.m., Planning | Growth | Economy Panel (Sanctuary)

Jon White, City of Dayton – Facilitator John Jones, Urban Food System Researcher Ben Jackle, Mile Creek Farm

3 – 3:15 p.m., Close | Call | Action (Sanctuary) Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge