DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Local leaders and community members came together to discuss efforts to reduce food insecurity in the area.

The Montgomery County Food Summit was held on Thursday, Nov. 16 to address the fight against food insecurity. This year’s theme was “Our Actions Today Create the Food Champions of Tomorrow.”

This is the 13th year the event has been held. Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge says the event has grown from just 50 people to over 300 in attendance this year.

“You know, it’s food insecurity, it’s not going away,” Dodge said. “Here in Montgomery County, Feeding America said we have almost 67,000 of our residents who are food insecure, 22,000 of those are children. It’s not going away, so this is something where we collaborate, we share information, we do as much as possible.”

Government agencies, industry experts and nonprofit organizations shared ideas and solutions to ensure access to affordable healthy food in Montgomery County. A panel discussion focused on fostering understanding, inspiring action and promoting partnerships in the community.

“We’re just trying to get good, healthy food to our residents here in Montgomery County,” Dodge said.

The summit also recognizes the efforts to reduce food insecurity, presenting awards to local organizations and residents who are making change happen.

2023 award winners included:

  • 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.

Find more information about the efforts to reduce food insecurity here.