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National Guard arrives in Indio at FIND Food Bank warehouse, begins packing and distributing food

NATIONAL GUARD AT FIND FOOD BANK (1)

The Desert’s Regional Food Bank: FIND Food Bank received some extra helping hands today from the California National Guard. News Channel 3’s Caitlin Thropay was there as the men and women came rolling in.

There were seven tactical vehicles that pulled up to FIND Food Bank’s warehouse Monday at 8 a.m. These vehicles carrying men and women of the California National Guard.

“They brought 25 individuals and that’s going to be a consistent basis, maybe, even more, depending on the need,” Supervisor Manuel Perez told News Channel 3 as he welcomed the members of the National Guard to our valley.

Due to the coronavirus, the need for help distributing food is growing. According to FIND Food Bank, they lost 70 percent of their volunteers after the shelter in place order.

“We’re excited to be able to help," Captain Brian Woods, Company Commander of the 3 15th Vertical Construction Company with the California National Guard told News Channel 3. "Yes, they are away from their families and yes they are missing some things at home but this is why they joined the national guard to not only be a soldier but to be a part of their community when their community needs them,” he said.

There are three platoons. In each platoon, there are 25 people and the three platoons will rotate each day and stay as long as they are needed.

“They won’t be doing any kind of security or law enforcement," President and CEO of FIND Food Bank, Debbie Espinosa told News Channel 3. "Remember they are here because our volunteer base is low right now,” she said.

After a quick tour of the warehouse, Espinosa gave them a briefing on safe food handling practices and hygiene before they were put to work.

“Right away they are going to start converting a lot of our cased product into bagged product so we have a very quick and fast deployment of food out at the sites in order to maintain that social distancing that's needed," Espinosa said. "They are going to be helping us with regards to pulling orders and processing the orders in order to make sure that food gets out quickly to our food pantries, the homeless shelters, the community feeding sites. They'll be helping us clean and sanitize the warehouse. They’ll be helping us with everything operational logistics and they’ll also be out at our mobile market sites as well to help us direct clients and line and flow,” she added.

Supervisor Perez was also at the warehouse on Monday and thanked the men and women for their service to our community.

“I want to thank our National Guard’s men and women for coming out here," he said. "It gives me a sense of pride and hope quite frankly that they’re here. Knowing that because of the coronavirus FIND Food Bank lost about 70 percent of their volunteer base and they’re here to serve,” he added.

Again, these National Guard troops will be at FIND's warehouse in Indio and out in our community helping distribute food. They will be here as long as they are needed.

For more information on FIND Food Bank, visit their website here: http://www.findfoodbank.org/

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Caitlin Thropay

Caitlin Thropay is the Weekend Morning Anchor and Lifestyle Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News Leader. Learn more about Caitlin here.

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