DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Montgomery County’s Food Summit as well as a Gem City Market informational meeting are showing just how much work is being done to combat the area’s food desert. 

People driving by the intersection of Salem Avenue and Superior Avenue will find a vacant lot. Come 2019, it is expected to be the home of the new Gem City Market.

“We’ve lost Aldi. We’ve lost Kroger on Gettysburg so it’s definitely very important to have a grocery store within reach,” Zontay Richardson, owner of Theze Dealz A Thrifty Boutique, said.

Richardson is working to get the word out about the community market. 

“‘Im a resident of west Dayton as well I grew up in west Dayton so I know how hard it is to have access to food,” Richardson said.

At an informational meeting at her thrift shop Sinclair student, Kahaya Kiswile, is getting extra credit for coming to learn about the market. 

“This is a great opportunity for families to buy quality food without having to go out of their way to obtain it,” Kiswile said.

At the Mongtomery County Food Summit, county leaders presented The Foodbank’s new truck that will be used to distribute fresh produce. It will reach people who because of distance or lack of transportation, have no access to fresh food.

“If you don’t have good food, then you start to become ill. We have all sorts of problems with health issues. So it’s a very serious situation,” Montgomery County Commissioner, Judy Dodge said.

With efforts like this, there is noticeable progress. Ambassador Tony Hall has been on the front lines of the food epidemic, helping pantries in the region. He says things are starting to get better. 

“Two and a half, three years ago we were the fourth hungriest city in the country. Now we’re the 42nd hungriest city,” Hall said.

Even so, he and Richardson say more work needs to be done. 

“Hopefully this is the beginning of something great for west Dayton,” Richardson said.

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