A food resilience grant from United Way of Miami County is enabling the Hoosier Health and Wellness Alliance (HHWA) and their partners to bring awareness to food insecurity in Miami County and implement new efforts to combat it.
The grant, awarded in January 2023, supported the installation of a billboard near Highway 24 this summer with a public service message for Miami County residents. It read, “1,590 Miami County children are food insecure—is one of them yours?”
HHWA partner Debi Wallick poses in front of the Miami County billboard
“The billboard is a true reflection of the food security efforts in the county,” said HHWA leader Antonia Sawyer, MS.
The billboard also directed viewers to explore the free food resources available to them on an app developed by Indy Hunger network called Community Compass, which is a “free, quick, and easy tool designed to show people where they can find food assistance in Indiana,” according to Sawyer.
Sawyer led the conceptualization of the billboard, which was initially envisioned by stakeholders from United Way of Miami County; local HHWA member, Melinda Duckett; Miami County Food Security Alliance; and the Community Compass team.
The HHWA’s successful partnership with these stakeholders has the potential to be replicated in other areas of the state.
“We are hoping that our Miami County collaboration inspires other communities working on food related issues to be creative in how they mobilize around local food access issues,” Sawyer said.
There are many opportunities to get involved with this work. This fall, the HHWA is launching a statewide food system working group which will help develop strategies to implement and measure new food security efforts. Those interested in getting involved should contact Sawyer at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Additionally, those interested in learning more about the broader work of the HHWA is invited to contact Sawyer or join the coalition through the Community Health Partnerships (CHeP) network.
“The HHWA meets communities where they are, and should any county be interested in mobilizing around food security, we would welcome an invitation to collaborate,” Sawyer said.