Healthy Food Saves Lives

“Helping the Community’s Hungriest Neighbors”

A Local Voices Column in the May 3, 2019, Dayton Daily News

By Ambassador Tony Hall

It doesn’t say “hunger” on the death certificate, but our neighbors are suffering and even dying from lack of access to healthy food.  

In Guatemala, I met children who lived on mostly corn, a plentiful food source but with limited nutritional value. They got enough calories but no variety in their diet and suffered from lack of fresh fruits and vegetables.  When compared with children who lived in a nearby city with access to better food, these children were malnourished and much less healthy.

Sadly, we see some similar health disparities here in Montgomery County.

  • In recent county health rankings, Montgomery County was 80th out of 88 counties in Ohio for premature deaths...

To read the full article follow the link.

What we know.

Fresh, nutritious food is vital to health. While that is common sense, we see more ad more evidence of how lack of access to healthy food is a dangerous situation which leads to debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases. Tens of thousands of Montgomery County residents are at increased risk of suffering from preventable disease; simply because they do not have access to the right food. Your zip cod should not determine your health or longevity, but that is the reality for too many of our neighbors.

What can you do?

First, learn more about the connection between food, health, and inequity. Then, make a difference.

One way to drive change is to support the Gem City Market, the locally owned and operated cooperative (co-op). Gem City Market is expected to open in 2020 to bring fresh, local food to one part of our "food desert". It will be a starting point to serve as a model for more locally owned stores to bloom in our underserved neighborhoods. You can support Gem City Market by becoming a member, attending meetings, and spreading the word to encourage people you know to become members too. 

Become a Gem City Market Member!

Another way you can make a difference is by volunteering to provide much needed assistance with our food partners. They work endlessly with limited resources to provide healthy food for our most vulnerable populations. While our goals are not for folks to rely on assistance to meet the hunger needs of their families, we do need address those that are hungry today. Our government partners long-term economical goals to increase food securitywill take more time to implement than folks can wait for fresh food.

Volunteer with Our Partners!

Chronic Disease from Limited food access

Childhood Obesity

Increased Risk of Childhood Obesity

healthcare costs

Increased Healthcare Costs for All of Us

Local Stats

The local stats will tell you more than just the numbers for the Dayton-Montgomery County Area suffering from hunger and food insecurity.

  • 66% of Montgomery County’s food deserts are located within the City of Dayton[i].
  • 73% of clients served by The Foodbank report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel [ii].
  • 33.2% of West Dayton residents living in food deserts eat < 1 vegetable per day[iii].
We are all impacted when our neighbors struggle to eat.

We cannot have a healthy and vibrant community if nearly one-third of our families with children struggle with food hardship[iv].In study after study, we see the connection between nutrition and chronic disease, brain development and job performance. Without healthy food in their bellies, how we can expect our children to learn in school? Without access to a grocery store, how can we expect patients to eat the food their doctors recommend? Without knowing where their next meal is coming from, how can we expect workers to perform at their jobs?

The Hall Hunger Initiative is teaming up with community members, Public Health of Dayton and Montgomery County, The City of Dayton, Montgomery County, The Foodbank, Homefull, Mission of Mary, Dayton Urban Grown, Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, among others, to meet the nutritional needs of our residents.

Please join us and our partners as we build a more food secure Dayton and Montgomery County.


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