Bringing solutions to our food deserts and local hunger challenges.

THE MISSION: We are dedicated to changing the system that allows hunger and food deserts to hurt our community.  HHI works with our community partners to create a sustainable and just food system in the Miami Valley.

We were founded by Ambassador Tony Hall in 2015 with the generous support of the Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation and in partnership with United Way of Greater Dayton Area.

THE PROBLEM: Hunger in our community is REAL. In Montgomery County, 93,210 people struggle with food insecurity, 26,350 of them being children. That’s almost 1 out of every five people.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg.  More than 50,000 people live in food deserts, areas where it’s almost impossible to buy healthy, nutritious food. As a result, people suffer from high rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses connected to diet. We lose 11,000 years of life due to preventable diseases and lack of healthy food is a deadly contributor. Together, these are some of the worst numbers in Ohio.

WHAT WE BELIEVE – Food insecurity does not exist in a vacuum. It is the result of decades of policies, neglect, societal change, and a lack of knowledge. To really end hunger, we have to bring the community together to create deep and meaningful systematic change.

We believe:

  • The entire community must work together and the entire community must benefit.
  • We need to make deep and meaningful systematic changes to address the causes of hunger.
  • Having access to plenty of healthy, culturally appropriate, food builds a healthier and stronger community.


ELEVATING THE ISSUE –Through speaking engagements, facilitating workshops, and community engagement, the HHI team, under Ambassador Tony Hall’s leadership, is always in the community elevating the issue of Dayton’s food crisis. HHI staff and VISTA members initiate the challenging conversations about root causes of hunger and poverty by conducting Racial Wealth Gap simulations. This one-hour interactive process walks participants through the laws and policies that lead to inequities in our society, creating a deeper understanding of why a rich nation still faces massive hunger issues.

BRINGING PEOPLE TO THE TABLE – We connect those that are already doing this work with each other.  Additionally, we link them with resources that exist in the community, as well as with best practices identified through research and conversations with local and national participants in the food conversation. Additionally, our collaboration and coordination work often allows us to identify gaps that exist in our community’s response to food inequity.

CAPACITY BUILDING – When gaps are identified, we can provide strategic capacity building support. HHI’s largest capacity building project is the development of the Gem City Market, the community’s most significant food access effort. HHI’s support of the store is not only wide in scope, but also deep in engagement and commitment. Currently, HHI is assisting with the market’s $4.5 million capital campaign, grassroots and membership engagement efforts, health planning, as well as the supporting the market’s governance, site pre-development, policy, and store design.

STRATEGIC COORDINATION – We believe that if we really want to move towards a hunger-free community, we must drive systematic change. We are excited to participate in creating a local food equity plan that will focus on varied strategies to achieve community food security. Working with key partners such as the Public Health of Dayton and Montgomery County, The Foodbank, Montgomery County, the City of Dayton and many others, we provide community connections and bring food systems expertise to these conversations. HHI also serves as co-strategic coordinator for the two major United Way of the Greater Dayton Area and Montgomery County funded food access collective impact projects.

In all aspects of our work, the Hall Hunger Initiative seeks to support our partners so together we can create a just food system that will benefit everyone in the community.

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