Virginia National Guard assists with food bank

Virginia National Guard assists with food bank

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Food banks around the country have upped their workload, as more and more families find themselves falling on hard times, but the Fredericksburg Food Bank is getting a helping hand from the Virginia National Guard.

Together, they hosted a food bank in Hanover on Wednesday morning, which saw hundreds of families receiving food.

“None of our schooling trained us on how to be operating a food bank in the middle of a global pandemic,” said Lt. Cole Stevens, “it feels good to be able to get out here and contribute. This is a really difficult time for the community, for the commonwealth, and the for the country in general.”

These aren’t typically the “front lines” you think of when it comes to the Virginia National Guard, but during this pandemic, they’re helping out any way they can.

A few dozen soldiers unloaded boxes of food, all ready to end up on the tables of families struggling to get by.
A few dozen soldiers unloaded boxes of food, all ready to end up on the tables of families struggling to get by. (Source: wwbt/nbc12)

“The demand has definitely increased in response to the crisis. Some of our partner agencies have had to close their doors,” said Fredericksburg Food Bank Program Coordinator, LaToya Brown.

The closing of the partner agencies have forced Brown and her staff having to pull double duty at their facility, and subsequently falling behind on other tasks.

“Taking 7 to 8 hours a day to do the distributions, physically, meant that I was missing some of the food that needed to be purchased,” said Carey Sealy, the food bank’s food sourcing manager.

So it goes without saying that the food bank welcomed the help from these soldiers with open arms.

On Wednesday morning, car after car streamed down a quasi-assembly line as the soldiers packed trunks with a week’s worth of supplies.
On Wednesday morning, car after car streamed down a quasi-assembly line as the soldiers packed trunks with a week’s worth of supplies. (Source: wwbt/nbc12)

“l was largely unaware of the work the food bank staff and community do on a daily - and weekly - basis. With the pandemic, the demand on the food bank has just skyrocketed, so It’s been humbling and impressive,” added Lt. Stevens.

The Virginia National Guard says that they have future food bank pop-ups scheduled, with the next one planned for King George County.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.