Twenty-five members of the California National Guard are headed to help regional food bank operations.
The men and women will begin a support assignment on Monday morning at FIND Food Bank, according to FIND and Riverside County officials.
The National Guardswomen and men will assist as volunteers for FIND. They will work with FIND employees to "to pack food bags, load food into trucks and deliver bags of food at mobile food markets."
Debbie Espinosa of FIND Food Bank tells News Channel 3 that the organization has lost more than seventy percent of its volunteer workforce.
“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 in a news release. “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 County release stated the Californa National Guard will not perform any law enforcement activities.
“We are incredibly thankful for the partnership and support of Supervisor Perez, and the entire county team, to help us secure National Guard support,” said Debbie Espinosa, President & CEO of FIND Food Bank said in the release. “The National Guard will be instrumental to make sure we have enough people to process the millions of pounds of food that usually feed 90,000 people each month. We expect to feed even more now with the economic impact hitting our community so severely. Our goal is to ensure that everyone knows where their next meal is coming from and no one gets left behind.”
On Saturday, a food distribution site served more than 400 families, but the need exceeded capacity.
To locate a food distribution site near you: click here
Help News Channel 3 and FIND Food Bank feed families in our desert. Join us for the annual FIND Food Bank Telethon. It's on April 3 from 7:00 -8:00 p.m. on News Channel 3.
To make a donation now, click here. You can also assist FIND Food Bank by dropping off non-perishable food item donations to their main distribution center in Indio, located at 83775 Citrus Ave, Indio, CA 92201. According to Espinosa, FIND is currently in need of canned protein and creamy peanut butter. Other helpful items include: cereal, pasta, beans, rice and other canned goods.