Approximately 10 members of the Michigan National Guard provided assistance to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan on March 30.
The National Guard service members are filling an important role in helping to ensure there are enough personnel on hand to distribute food and other critically important resources to the local community.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order does not apply to those volunteering or working in agencies helping to provide for those in need. More volunteers are needed, and the Michigan National Guard is helping to fill that need in several communities statewide.
The Michigan National Guard has received a request to aid food banks in four communities across the state, including Ann Arbor, Comstock Park, Flint and Pontiac.
The food distribution sites requested Michigan National Guard personnel to assist with mobile food distribution, which serves between 300-600 Michigan families daily. Guard members direct traffic for the drive-through distribution site and assist with packing bags of fruit and handing bags to cars. The guard members perform their duties with personnel protective equipment to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including gloves and hand sanitizer.
There are also members of the Michigan National Guard serving the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans, in Marquette. Their support includes temperature screening of all employees before they enter the homes and ensuring screening protocols are being followed to protect resident veterans from the spread of COVID-19.
Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley thanked Whitmer for her leadership and her willingness to provide service personnel to help to make sure the greater Flint community is served at this challenging time.
“This is Michiganders helping Michiganders,” Neeley said. “We have gaps to fill and the National Guard is filling those vital areas for us. We are thankful for the service of Michigan National Guard as well as all of our first responders and others who are continuing to serve the residents of Flint.”
Neeley also issued a special thank you to all the nonprofit entities-including the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan-and their volunteers who are providing for the health, safety and welfare of Flint residents.
“During this crisis, we also are seeing that there are many angels living among us. We are a strong community and I am proud to see so many people step up to care for one another,” Neeley said.