Dayton, Ohio – When the pandemic began and the ripple effects started to become clear, food insecurity was one of the biggest issues facing Ohioans. And in Montgomery County, the number of those affected continues to rise.
To help address the issue by mobilizing their hunger-relief efforts, The Foodbank in Dayton is debuting a new refrigerated food distribution truck.
The new set of wheels were unveiled with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The Foodbank CEO Michelle Riley said with the demand for food-assistance growing due to the pandemic, these trucks will play a key role in their efforts to address hunger in impoverished areas.
“We currently serve 106 partner agencies who feed the hungry,” Riley said. “We use these trucks to go into areas where there’s not brick and mortar, basically what we call gaps. We take the truck in, set up a mobile unit, and feed those who are hungry in that area of the community until we get another partner to take over the distribution.”
She said during the pandemic The Foodbank has seen a major increase in first-time-families needing assistance — with 81,000 people reporting across the county.
“We saw 68 percent increase in our distributions,” Riley said. “Half of those families we had never seen in our life before. They’ve never asked for help before.”
This is the second truck of its kind for The Foodbank. And with COVID-19 surging across the region, building a fleet of these trucks was important to safely continue their mission — because the effects caused by the pandemic are expected to linger for months to come.
“Regardless of the remediation going forward, we’re still going to have families who take a while to economically get back on their feet,” Riley said.
The new refrigerated truck is part of a $237,000 commitment Montgomery County has made to The Foodbank. Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman said she proud to back The Foodbank because she knows the work they do is essential.
“The service that they proved is so incredible and these trucks now, go out in the community so the people don’t even have to wait in the long line here to get food,” Lieberman said. “Our mobile trucks are really important to get the food out to the people that need it.”