On Friday, May 25th at the 43rd annual NUSA conference in Birmingham, Alabama, the Whitely Community Food Pantry was named the 2018 Grand Prize winner of the Neighborhood of the Year (NOTY) Award. The food pantry was also awarded first place in the Social Revitalization category of the NOTY. Whitely was recognized for creating a sustainable food pantry, strong partnerships, an educational resource on nutrition, and future-focused projects to combat hunger in the community.
Seeing that over 38% of Whitely Neighborhood residents are living below the poverty level, the food pantry has made it their mission to “resolve the serious problem of food insecurity in our area.” With the 2017 closing of Marsh Grocery, the neighborhood has become a “food dessert” that is lacking quality nourishment for residents and their families.
Whitely has formed partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana to obtain food at a low cost and with Purdue Extension for nutritional information about cooking healthy foods. The food pantry served on average 100 households or 200 individuals each month (nearly 8% of the entire Whitely population) in 2017 alone.
The Whitely Community Food Pantry is held from 4-6 pm the third Thursday of the month at Harvest Christian Fellowship, 1010 E. Centennial. It is open to anyone in the Whitely area or Whitely Community Council members. The food pantry is actively seeking volunteers and financial support. To become a volunteer please contact Jay Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mary Dollison at 288-1892. You can also support the pantry through their GoFundMe campaign.
Awards were presented by NUSA president Tige Watts and accepted by Kenyonta Hudson, Whitely Community Council Executive Director; Cornelius and Mary Dollison; Rebecca Parker, Technology Coordinator for Muncie Public Library; and Frank Scott, Whitely Community Council President.
Article by Erin Moore
Devotion. Commitment. Enthusiasm. Collaboration. Inspiration. Inclusivity. These six words only begin to describe Mary Dollison’s legacy in the Whitely neighborhood and Muncie at-large. Her significant contributions to our community were nationally recognized at the 42nd annual Neighborhoods, U.S.A. (NUSA) conference in Omaha, Nebraska, this May.
Mary was a recipient of NUSA’s “Who’s Who in America’s Neighborhoods” award, which recognizes individuals across the country who promote neighborhood development, participation, and collaboration. Mary’s nominator, Heather Williams of Ball State University’s Building Better Neighborhoods initiative and the Muncie Action Plan, noted her key roles in building the Whitely Community Council which boasts 90-100 attendees at its monthly meetings; creating the Motivate our Minds educational enrichment program; securing support from the city, county, area foundations, Ball State, and the local private sector to reopen Whitely’s Roy C. Buley Community Center and restore the historic Shafer Chapel; and partnering with Ball State faculty to create the award-winning “Schools within the Context of Community” teacher preparation program.
The Whitely Community Council’s Year of Color and monthly newsletter also received first-place prizes at this year’s NUSA conference.
The Year of Color, an ambitious series of public and private beautification projects consisting of painting, planting, repair, and public art installation, was awarded the first-place spot in the “Neighborhood of the Year” Physical Revitalization category. The campaign was successful in drawing positive attention to the neighborhood as well as strengthening relationships and pride among Whitely residents. Project leaders Rebecca Parker and Frank Scott presented the Year of Color to a panel of judges at the NUSA conference.
Whitely’s newsletter took home first place in the monthly newsletter category after being evaluated by a jury panel for content, layout, and overall appearance.
“We share [these awards] with every volunteer involved and with our community partners, among them Muncie Parks Department, Muncie Delaware Clean and Beautiful, Ball State Office of Community Engagement, and the Muncie Action Plan,” said Rebecca. “Muncie is doing great things!
The community is invited to celebrate the Whitely Community Council’s success!
WCC Awards Reception
Monday, June 19
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Cornerstone Center for the Arts (520 E Main St, Muncie)