Sometimes in life, as in math, two negatives make a positive.

At least, that was the opportunity Ball State alumna Amanda DeLotelle (above, center) saw in Dayton, Ohio this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recession resulted in an increased demand for meals to help the growing number of people experiencing a hard time. And that same pandemic and recession meant that many workers in the food and hospitality industries were out of work.

DeLotelle and several partners helped found the nonprofit Miami Valley Meals to provide nutritious food to those in need and also employment for out-of-work chefs and culinary professionals.

“Service organizations and dedicated individuals have been taking care of the vulnerable in our city for many years,” said DeLotelle. “It is an honor to be able to support their efforts in this way. I am also incredibly proud of my team for selflessly stepping up in uncertain times by utilizing their skills to process rescued food into meals for their community.”

DeLotelle said she think she has found her calling in helping the hungry. She graduated from Ball State in 2003 with a BA in telecommunications and in 2006 with an MA in telecommunications (aka “digital storytelling”).

Trays full of food, including vegetables, grains, and meat

Miami Valley Meals is funded by Miami Valley Community Action Partnership using Community Services Block Grant CARES Act dollars, and it receives support from various organizations in the community. In return, Miami Valley Meals provides those organizations with free and nutritious meals to feed the hungry.

To date, Miami Valley Meals has prepared more than 44,000 meals for underserved citizens in Dayton since our first day in the kitchen on March 24.

These meals have supported organizations across five counties in the Miami Valley by using more than 20,000 pounds of donated food.

Miami Valley Meals is also focused on educating future culinary professionals by offering culinary training to those who would not otherwise have access to college-level culinary training.

They have recently moved into a new building, which they hope to turn into a permanent home where they can stay to serve the Miami Valley for years to come.

For more information about Miami Valley Meals, visit

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