Voice News Staff
Riverside, CA – “We welcome the National Guard’s assistance with the distribution of food and pitching in for FIND Food Bank, whose senior citizen volunteers are no longer able to come pack food boxes,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.
On Friday California Governor Gavin Newsom called for the short-term deployment of the guard to initially assist food bank distribution warehouses in Sacramento County and other California counties that requested assistance with their food.
When making the announcement about the deployment Newsom stressed, “It’s in these times of crisis that Californians are at their best, coming to the aid of those in their community who are most in need.” According to Newsom, food banks provide a critical lifeline for families—they are needed now more than ever.
The National Guard was placed on alert early last week and prepared to focus on humanitarian and public safety needs. According to the governor, California wants to ensure that food delivery is happening appropriately. He further noted concern about grocery stores being overwhelmed by customers. In addition, due to the spread of COVID-19, food banks throughout California have been affected by a decline in volunteers.
In the Coachella Valley, members of the National Guard will assist volunteers for the organization FIND as their employees pack food bags, load food into trucks, and deliver bags of food at mobile food markets. The nonprofit organization FIND is operating without 70 percent of its volunteer workforce due to the coronavirus.
“We welcome the National Guard’s assistance with the distribution of food and pitching-in for FIND Food Bank whose senior citizen volunteers are no longer able to come pack food boxes,” explained Perez. “I want to thank the National Guardswomen and men who do what they have always done—answer the call and report for duty to assist our communities in times of need.
The National Guard may later be called on to provide medical and logistical support when, as expected, COVID-19 begins to overwhelm California’s hospital system. They will probably also assist local law enforcement—as needed—to enforce the executive order previously issued by Newsom for residents to remain in their homes and for businesses considered nonessential to remain closed.
There are about 22,000 members of the California National Guard with their deployment, Newsom joins governors in more than 25 states that have already activated their local National Guard units in response to the escalating coronavirus pandemic.