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COVID-19: National Guard pitches in at Food Bank

Increased demand and fewer volunteers
Posted at 6:54 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 21:54:03-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - The coronavirus has the Arizona National Guard helping to keep food flowing. Thursday, Guardsmen brought their strength to the Community Food Bank.

The Community Food banks is sort of a barometer of bad times. Here we see more people lining up for food and in another indicator, the Arizona National Guard is here helping to distribute the food.”

As cars roll up, National Guardsmen, join Food Bank workers and volunteers to get food into the hands of the people who need it.

Demand for food picked up as the coronavirus drove people out of their jobs. It also drained the pool of volunteers who keep the food bank running. Many are older retirees at extra risk from the virus so they’re staying home.

National Guardsmen normally living civilian lives volunteered to bring their military skills and discipline to help.

Specialist John Randall says, ““And we can move quickly; and that’s what we train to do, to be able to move lots of equipment and gear and personnel quickly.”

Community Food Bank CEO Michael McDonald says there’s no food shortage but the surge of demand has strained the ability to get it from warehouses to the Food Bank and to stores.

He’s seen a surge of people looking for help and says if you need help, you just have to ask.

“If you tell me you lost your job, you just tell us that. We’re going to take some basic information about your household and we’ll put it in our computer and you’ll get food that day.”

You can learn more about how to request help at the Community Food Bank’s web page. The page also lists changed operating hours as a result of COVID-19 and upcoming inventory sessions.

Carolinda Garcia says she’s a widow, and grateful for all the help she can get, now besides the Food Bank, she’s thankful for the National Guard.

“They are terrific. I give them credit a hundred percent.”