DAYTON, OHIO (Nov. 16, 2023) – Hundreds of local leaders and residents are joining forces to address food insecurity in Montgomery County at the 13th Annual Food Summit.
The Summit is a collaborative effort to combat hunger and promote access to affordable, healthy food. Industry experts, government agencies, nonprofits, agricultural professionals and more gathered to discuss ideas and solutions, bringing diverse perspectives and expertise to the table.
"The fight against food insecurity is not just about providing a meal for today but also about building a sustainable future where no one has to worry where their next meal will come from," said County Commissioner Judy Dodge. "This event gets us closer to that goal by allowing those with real-world perspectives to share their experiences, offer insights into effective strategies and provide ways we can better serve Montgomery County residents."
This year's theme, "Our Actions Today Create the Food Champions of Tomorrow," aims to encourage the entire community to unite and make positive changes to ensure everyone has nutritious and sufficient food.
The Summit gave many key food equity advocates the opportunity to share insight into how they've personally seen the impacts of food insecurity and the steps they're taking to contribute to the solutions.
Highlighting the event was a panel discussion to foster understanding, inspire action and promote partnerships. The panel included Nicole Adkins, the founder of With God's Grace Food Pantry; Amanda DeLotelle, the cofounder and executive director of Miami Valley Meals; Jazmon Stewart, the owner and operator of iThrive; and Trudy Elder, Homefull's Chief Strategic Officer. They all have been recognized as past Food Champion Award Winners, leading the way to ensure our community is food secure.
The 2023 winners were also announced and include:
• Trailblazer Award: Gregory Muhammad, Oasis Agricultural Learning Center
• Nourishing Spirit Award: Marilyn Harper, the Hearth Community Place
• Education Champion Award: Michael Shultz, Mission of Mary Cooperation
• Community Partner Award: Emily Callen, Dayton Children's Hospital
• People's Choice Award: The Foodbank, Inc.
"These individuals and their organizations show that passion is not only about the fire within. It's about igniting that fire in others, creating a spark that makes us want to change things for the better," said Haley Carretta, the Director of Montgomery County's Office of Strategic Initiatives. "We are honored to have them working for and with our community, providing meals and most importantly, hope."