Dayton women band together — and with surprise help from a nonprofit — feed 500

“They were up for the challenge,” organization’s founder said. “They were an amazing group of bad ass women.”

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Tae Winston's mind wasn't on what was going on her plate for Easter Sunday.

Her mind was on those left jobless and stressed due to closures associated with the coronavirus.

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"I said, 'Let's all make some meals and let's feed the community,'" Winston, the owner of The Entrepreneurs Marketplace, 13 N. Williams St. in Dayton, told this news organization.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Winston, about a half dozen female entrepreneurs who rent space at the marketplace, and several of her family members and friends distributed dinners featuring ham, green beans, mac and cheese, dressing, fried corn, chicken, spaghetti and salad curbside on Easter Sunday, April 12.


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"And then a random person from a place called Access to Excess came and randomly brought a trailer of groceries," Winston said. "We fed 300 people hot meals and the rest was produce."

In total, she estimated 500 people received food.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Jen Burns and Chuck Terry, a Trotwood couple, launched Access to Excess, an organization that collects wholesome food from grocery stores and other food suppliers before it goes bad and makes it available to people with little or no access to healthy options, a year ago.

The organization typically sets up farmers market-style produce stands at schools and other spaces that can hold large crowds.

Restrictions on crowd size due to the coronavirus make that impossible right now.

Burns said Access to Excess is instead seeking to partner with “community heroes” to help get its free food to those who need it.

She contacted the Marketplace last Friday and found willing and enthusiastic partners.

Access to Excess brought a trailer full of 1,500 pounds of produce to the Marketplace Sunday.

“They were up for the challenge,” Burns said. “They were an amazing group of bad ass women.”

Winston said the help from Access to Excess came as a surprise.

The need was not.

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“As a community everyone needs help,” Winston said. “I want to to help people. As a community we need to help people.”

Long before the pandemic, 15 million American children live below the federal poverty threshold, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.

In Montgomery County, 93,210 people struggle with food insecurity, according to The Foodbank.

About 26,350 of those people are children.

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Wright Dunbar neighborhood resident Millie Smith stopped by to volunteer after having watched the Sunrise Easter Service at Carillon Park online and picking up breakfast from Coco's Bistro.

The 35-year Central State University employee handed out flowers and helped direct traffic.

Smith called the experience authentic and said she was moved by joy.

“It was just beautiful,” she said. “It is one of the best Easters I’ve experienced spiritually in a long time.”

Winston said the Marketplace and its vendors are not done.

Winston said free dinners will be held every other month.

The next is set for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 28.

Only food and health vendors — De'Lish Cafe, Sweet-Umms Chocolatier, Juicing Jammers and LA Remedies skin care — are currently open Thursday to Sunday in the MarketPlace due to state-ordered closures.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

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