Feeding Those in Need

 Feeding Those in Need

Executive Director of MVM Amanda DeLotelle and founder (Energizer Bunny) Bill Evans

Miami Valley Meals fills the food insecurity gap

Many in life search for their true calling. Some find it early, others take a bit, but for Evans Bakery owner Bill Evans his calling came as a young man.

“Like my father and brother who were bakers, I grew up in that industry. My wife Rosemary and I bought Schattschneider Bakery in 1969 (now Evans) and appreciated the impact of what we were able to do with our talents. We never experienced food insecurity personally. But I have been a member of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul for most of my adult life and experienced first-hand the joy of nourishing the hungry,” Evans says.

Evans founded the House of Bread and now just won’t stop, the Energizer Bunny tackling food insecurity for his friends and neighbors. Miami Valley Meals is his newest creation along with Chef Matt.

Miami Valley Meals is an organization that was created by a group of food service professionals intending to help feed those in our community through donated and reclaimed foods by offering to already existing food pantries and kitchens,” says Matthew DeAngulo, director of Culinary Operations for Miami Valley Meals.

Like everything else, the pandemic put things on fast-track.

“Chef Matt reached out to me in mid-March of 2020. Besides checking in, he expressed his concern surrounding impending shutdowns and the devastating effect that would have on our friends in the hospitality industry and, furthermore, those who were already suffering. He asked me if I would join him in a meeting set up by Bill Evans with the House of Bread to see how we could help. Within a week, that meeting happened, we were both furloughed from our respective jobs, we called a few of our former chef friends, and we were in the kitchen,” says Amanda DeLotelle, executive director of MVM.

Since March of 2020 Miami Valley Meals served 270,000 meals with 216,000 pounds of recovered food impacting some 30 ZIP codes.

Now, you might be asking, “Don’t we have a good number of organizations for folks in need?”

“As we decided to approach the food insecurity issue in our area, we found that gaps occurred with the way outreach was given. Many organizations focused on ‘their areas’ and not an overall contribution as a collaborative. As for Miami Valley Meals, we chose to approach our model as centralizing our efforts and distributing in an outward fashion to anyone who may need our services, reaching more with streamlined efforts,” DeAngulo says.

The operation is lean and mean, but monetary donations are always welcome.

Staff and volunteers preparing meals.

“Our meal program is free to vetted nonprofits serving the hungry. Because they are free, we depend on grants and donations to support the operation. When you donate to Miami Valley Meals, the effect reverberates to impact over 40 current partner nonprofits who in turn feed individuals all over the Miami Valley,” DeLotelle says.

Of course, volunteers are on the wish list, too.

Carolyn Jackson is one of the many folks giving their time. “I’m a nurse and I think we are always looking for opportunities to share with other people because we are so blessed,” she says.

Evans and his group of merry men and women refuse to fold under the monumental task of keeping folks fed and won’t stop until hunger is a footnote.

“Future goals of MVM include a social enterprise that will help sustain the mission so we can continue to grow our reach, output and impact. We will continue to seek partnerships and collaborations that not only address hunger but also seek to support and engage with our community through educational opportunities and events,” DeLotelle says.

Volunteers and staff at Miami Valley Meals headquarters

So far as retirement for Mr. Evans, a word this writer knows is not in his vocabulary, what’s next for Bill?

“It has been a rewarding experience to see the vision of Chef Matt become a reality. With the grand opening of our kitchen scheduled this past December, I plan to retire, meaning I will try to reimagine ways to continue to raise money for and raise awareness about those organizations that serve those in need in the Miami Valley. Maybe some cooking and baking lessons and we split the pot 50/50—half to MVM and half to the host and hostess hunger related charity of choice. Time will tell. Stay tuned. And again, thank you for sharing the joy of nourishing the hungry.”

No Bill, the thanks my friend goes to you, Matthew and Amanda, feeding the Miami Valley one meal at a time.

Cheers!
Buch

Danielle Cain