National Guard to Help with Food Bank

Service members will be stationed in Southeast Ohio starting March 23

LOGAN, Ohio – Members of the Ohio National Guard are expected to arrive at the Southeast Ohio Foodbank on March 23 to help feed seniors, families, and displaced workers across the Foodbank’s 10-county service area.

On Wednesday, Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Adjutant General MG John C. Harris Jr., announced the deployment of Ohio National Guard members. This action comes at the request of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and in collaboration with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks and its 12 member Feeding America foodbanks.

Citizens may see military personnel and military vehicles in the 10 counties that the Southeast Ohio Foodbank serves: Hocking, Athens, Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Morgan, Perry, Vinton, and Washington. The Southeast Ohio Foodbank is a program of Hocking Athens Perry Community Action (HAPCAP).

“We welcome these National Guard members as part of our foodbank family and thank them for their dedication and diligence in the weeks ahead,” says Andrew Mayle, HAPCAP’s Food & Nutrition Director. “We encourage our clients and community members to join us in welcoming them with gratitude and friendship as they assist us in our important work.”

Statewide, approximately 300 National Guard members will be deployed at the 12 foodbank warehouses across the state, which provide food to Ohioans in all 88 counties. The National Guard members will assist Ohio’s foodbanks in procuring, sorting, and packing food into bags and boxes; distributing that food through “no-touch” food distributions and deliveries; and supporting other logistical needs to protect public health and safety while maintaining foodbank operations.

“We have a responsibility to respond when our governor and fellow Ohioans need our assistance,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general. “We have a long history of supporting the state and nation during times of emergency. Our Guard members are coming from counties across the state to serve their own communities, ensuring their neighbors continue to receive food and pantry items.”

The Southeast Ohio Foodbank has implemented several key changes to respond to need while protecting staff, volunteers and clients by minimizing person-to-person contact. Staff members and network pantries are making a concentrated effort to transition to “no-touch” food distribution using drive-through and delivery models, as well as transitioning to pre-packaged bags and boxes of food. Foodbank staff has also advised member pantries of the state waiver on signatures. Clients hold up a photo ID and give verbal permission for the volunteer to sign required forms on their behalf. The volunteer signs with their own signature or initials noting, “COVID-19 2020”.

With the evolving updates and changes, Foodbank staff is committed to working with State resources to continue to feed at-risk residents in Southeast Ohio.

“As social distancing and quarantine measures continue to be ordered and implemented, Southeast Ohio Foodbank clients may not always have access to the local food pantry or soup kitchen where they would usually turn to for help,” says Mayle. “We remain committed to being here to help and serve as long as we are legally permitted to do so.”

The Foodbank is still receiving donations to serve children and senior citizens. Those wishing to contribute can visit hapcap.org/donate. Those with questions or needing additional resources may contact (740) 385-6813 or info@hapcap.org.