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Montgomery County Food Champions

The Montgomery County Food Champion Awards were created in 2019 to recognize and honor community members who have made a significant and positive impact on our local food system. 

A Food Champion is a community member serving in Montgomery County who has demonstrated dedicatation and commitment to their community, applied a new solution to an existing problem, and has inspired and empowered meaningful work in others.

Award winners will be announced at the 11th annual Montgomery Cound Food Summit on November 18, 2021.



2020 Montgomery County Food Champions

The Trailblazer Award was presented to Jen Burns from Access to Excess. Jen rescues food from community gardens and grocery stores and distributes it in areas of need every day of the week. When she shares the food, she presents the food in a way that creates the feel of a farmers market stand that lets people "shop" for what they want.

The Nourishing Spirit Award was presented to Melodie Bennett of House of Bread. She has worked to serve the House of Bread guests for the last 11 years. Melodie wear a multitude of hats, from operations to development to purchasing mediator to long-term strategist.

The Education Champion Award was presented to Nora Schaefer, a professor of Dietics and Nutrition at Sinclair Community College. She found a solution to meet the needs of students struggling to buy food by setting up a food pantry and a Grab-and-Go lunch station.

The Community Partner Award was presented to Donna McCoy at Dayton Children's Hospital and Kiser Elementary. In collaboration with her Community Health team, Donna organized 20 produce box distribution events from June to August. A total of 3,270 boxes were distributed and more than 3,000 families were served.

The People's Choice Award was presented to With God's Grace, which received six nominations this year. Nicole Adkins estabilshed With God's Grace in 2015 out of her garage, inspired by her own struggles. her non-profit has grown to distribute millions of pounds of food to thousans of families throughout the Miami Valley, especially those who live in food deserts.

2019 Montgomery County Food Champions

The People’s Choice Award was presented to Nicole Adkins who established With God’s Grace. Adkins distributed more than three million pounds of food this year to more than 3,000 families, despite her home being destroyed by the Memorial Day tornadoes.

The Nourishing Spirit Award was presented to Neah Rainey, owner of Sweet Rain Desserts, who used her personal finances to prepare home-cooked meals and purchase personal items for people every day, for months, after the tornadoes.  

The Educator Award was presented to Glenna Jennings who worked with fellow University of Dayton artists to create the “Desert Kitchen Collective,” which encourages dialogue about topics such as food insecurity and food justice as it relates to immigration. The artwork from the project is auctioned off to purchase and donate non-perishable food items to local nonprofits.

The Community Partner Award was given to The Foodbank, Inc. for consistently targeting food insecurity in the region and being the largest distributor of nourishing food for those who cannot afford it. They work to provide food drives, donation drives, pop-up markets, and other services to reach isolated populations in underserved parts of the community.