TROY, Ohio (WDTN) – Maiya Dilbone was only 16-years-old when she had an experience while volunteering at a local food kitchen that changed her .

“I noticed a teenage girl with her head down and I went over to make small talk to see if she needed anything, but she didn’t seem to want to have any extra attention. That’s when i realized that these kids are no different than me and I started to think ‘How can I make food available to them without any shame or embarrassment,'” shared Maiya.

This led her to come up with The Community Food Truck, a free pantry where food can be anonymously donated or picked up by anyone in need. She started her idea in 2020, during the pandemic, and right now there are more than 13 trucks in Troy, Tipp City and Pleasant Hill.

“I came back to see if anyone had used it and it was completely empty … day after day. then I realized that the need for these food trucks was greater than I ever imagined,” she said.

Maiya and her family build and hand-paint each truck with care. She keeps the pantries stocked thanks to community food drives, generous donors and also funds from grants she applies for while juggling school and extra curricular activities. This year she was awarded the Miami County Food Insecurity Alliances first ever Food Hero award for her work.

“None of this was ever done to be awarded or get recognized…my heart was there to help the kids and now this has grown into something so awesome and I’m honored to be awarded,” said Maiya.

Although she is planning to attend Ohio Northern University in the Fall to study business, she will continue to operate her nonprofit. For more information or to learn how to support, click here.