TMA Foundation President Leslie Secrest, right, presents the Champion of Health award to Elizabeth Dry. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Lemke.)

An East Dallas neighbor who founded a community garden received a $5,000 award from the Texas Medical Association Foundation to continue her work against food insecurity, according to a news release.

Promise of Peace Garden director Elizabeth Dry accepted the John P. McGovern Champion of Health Award for the Soup It Forward program. The program allows families to plant and harvest a sack of vegetables that they can take home each month to make soup. It also helps children who are on free or reduced school meal plans.

More than 150 Dallas families participated in the program, and Dry said she plans to expand to other cities in the U.S.

“The staff behind Soup It Forward have gone above and beyond helping those less fortunate develop better eating habits,” foundation president Leslie Secrest said in a statement. “The program also helps those with better circumstances develop a deeper empathy toward the people they serve.”

The Promise of Peace Garden provides food for more than 600 people annually. The goal is to encourage neighbors of all backgrounds to make healthy choices by growing their own food and giving back to the community. 

“Let this be the beginning to get Soup It Forward programs across the state,” Dry said in a statement.

The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Medical Student-Run Clinic at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso was the secondary winner. The clinic provides health care to uninsured residents in El Paso County.

Recipients were honored Jan. 26 at the foundation’s winter conference in Austin. The Champion of Health Award is given each year to projects that tackle public health threats or work to create a healthier lifestyle for Texas residents.