Chef Matt DeAngulo was the executive chef at Victoria Theatre Association’s Citilites at the Schuster Center and Event Services Department for nearly six years. In January of 2020 it was announced that they were closing down for renovations and a concept change, laying off all staff.
Chef Matt, began volunteering more time with a local organization Set the Banquet Table, which was founded by baker and former Executive Director of House of Bread, Bill Evans. And then COVID 19 hit. In mid-March, Chef Matt DeAngulo asked friend and 501c3 Set the Banquet Table Chairman, Bill Evans, the best way to help. A couple of conversations more and Chef Matt had activated a team of recently unemployed Chefs and culinary professionals to assist by quickly and efficiently bulk preparing nutritious food. They began their efforts at the House of Bread and shortly after, St. Vincent de Paul and eventually, The Life Enrichment Center. The team’s many volunteer hours were soon supplemented through a new fiduciary, Set the Banquet Table.
As word got out among the social services community, Chef Matt’s meals were in demand. In his quest to feed the hungry in the region the vision for Miami Valley Meals was born. Using the skills of local chefs, they were able to use every bit of the donated food they received to create bulk nutritious meals to those in need. They started using the kitchen at the House of Bread, began working with St. Vincent De Paul and East End Community Services.
As the pandemic continued the vision grew by May with a $250,000 grant from the Federal Cares Act, made possible through the Community Action Partnership, Miami Valley Meals morphed into more than just a vision, but a true business. With a business plan that continues to grow and morph, the needs this organization can feed in the community are infinite.
Hiring Amanda DeLotelle as the Executive Director, who had worked with Chef Matt as the Food And Beverage GM at Victoria Theatre, and then worked with Kohler Catering before being laid off due to COVID 19, and Chef Matt were the first two hires. they were also supported by many partners including The Food Bank, Hall Hunger Initiative, East End Community Services, The Department of Public Health, Declare and many more.
They’ve now been able to bring on three full time chefs, several cooks and Janice part time bookkeeper who also paints, builds, and has done welding projects for the new space! Currently they have a staff of 10 and several key volunteers. Other volunteers are needed drivers for delivering meals to their partner, and in the future the plan for a garden will open up more volunteer opportunities.
With the talents of chefs, financial support from contributors, and emotional support from many, it is the goal of Miami Valley Meals to serve groups who are currently in our area directly feeding those who are in need of nourishment. They are currently working with 17 partner agencies and preparing an average of about 1500 meal each week, serving folks in Jamestown, Hamilton and all over the region. To date, they have compiled hundreds of volunteer hours and prepared more than 35,000 meals for underserved citizens in Dayton since our first day in the kitchen on March 24th.
They’ve just secured a building to serve as the hub of their packing and distribution center at the corner of Washington St. and Edwin C Moses, with a plan to raise the $330,000 it will take to buy the building, which will place them just minutes from Sinclair College and Ponitz Career Tech, where they would be abler to work with the culinary students from both schools to teach bulk food preparation and perhaps offer internships.
If you’d like to help Miami Valley Meals with a cash donation, please donate here.
Miami Valley Meals Wish list:
Food Carts, plumbing services to install a mop and 3 compartments sinks, stainless tables, a cargo van, someone who could build a ramp at the building entry, painters for the building (the paint has been donated). For more information contact [email protected]
Miami Valley Meals serves those that feed the hungry. If you work with an organization that is seeking assistance in feeding the hungry, see if it’s a good fit for Miami Valley meals by filling out this form. If you are an individual in need of assistance, please use the 211 resource phone line.