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Where To Find Emergency Food Assistance During The Coronavirus

Foodbanks are ramping up emergency food distribution during the Coronavirus crisis.
Jess Mador
Foodbanks are ramping up emergency food distribution during the Coronavirus crisis.

Editor's note: this story has been changed to reflect updated information released March 17 by Dayton Public Schools: 


Emergency food distribution is underway across the Miami Valley. Assistance is available to individuals, and to families with children home from school during the state-mandated Coronavirus shutdown, ordered by Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday.

Many children in the Miami Valley rely heavily on the nutritious meals they receive during the school day, and with school expected to be out for at least the next three weeks, districts are coordinating to keep children's bellies full.

In Montgomery County Dayton Public Schools is providing students with food on Wednesdays.

Students who visit one of the more than half a dozen designated distribution sites listed below will get, "enough meals to last five days, which includes five breakfasts and five lunches," DPS officials said in an updated written statement. 

Any DPS families without transportation who are unable to travel to food distribution sites may request an in-home delivery at DaytonPublic.com.  

Ohio education officials are directing school districts to not turn away any hungry students, even students who typically may not qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. 

The state's far flung network of foodbanks is also mobilizing to help families put food on the table at home.

Tyra Jackson directs the organization Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties.

“Some of the school districts may be concentrating on just getting the kids some food," she says. "We're looking at ways as the foodbanks to make sure there's food in the entire household so everyone has access to meals.”

The foodbank network expects to distribute tens of thousands of meals at mobile and drive-through sites in the Miami Valley in the coming days.

Jackson says foodbanks are coordinating closely with the Department of Education to help supplement any fresh fruit, vegetable or pantry items schools may need. She expects to see increased demand for food assistance and for toiletries as the Coronavirus escalates through Southwest Ohio.

"We're already seeing that this is affecting people that we never used to serve at pantries before, because within six hours, people are being told, you know, you won't have a job or you're laid off. And so people are scrambling," says Jackson. "And the economy is going to have a long time before it's able to hit where it was and where people's lives will be stabilized again."

For more information on where to access foodbank assistance, to donate, or to volunteer with mobile distribution, visit the Dayton Foodbank, or Second Harvest.  

DPS is distributing food to students beginning Wednesday, March 18. Upcoming distribution dates include Wednesday, March 25 and Wednesday, April 1.

Food delivery is also available on Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for students who sign up in advance. DPS is requiring students to be present in order for food to be delivered.

All DPS students and children under the age of 18 are eligible to receive meals.  

Food distribution will take place between 9 a.m. and noon each Wednesday at the following locations:

Rosa Parks Early Learning Center

Kiser Elementary

Ruskin Elementary

Westwood Elementary

Louise Troy Elementary

Edwin Joel Brown Middle School

Wright Brothers Middle School

Belmont High School 

In a statement, Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli says volunteers are also needed to distribute food.

To qualify for volunteering, adults between the ages of 18 and 50 must have no health problems and must not live with anyone at especially high risk for the Coronavirus. To find out more, email DPSSupt@DaytonPublic.com.

All volunteers must sign a waiver. 

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.
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