Coronavirus: National Guard assisting food bank, helping ‘amp it up’

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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The National Guard helped distribute food Monday at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Springfield.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Ohio National Guard is assisting Second Harvest Food Bank with distributing, packaging and transporting food to residents in Clark, Champaign and Logan counties.

“Having the guards here has allowed us to continue the work we were doing previously, but also allowed us to do more,” Trya Jackson, executive director for Second Harvest Food Bank said. “It allowed us to amp it up because we are seeing additional people needing assistance.”

Gov. Mike DeWine activated about 300 members of the Ohio National Guard to help with food distribution throughout the state.

“The action I’ve taken to activate the Ohio National Guard will provide support to our food pantries that are low on staff and need help getting food to some of our most vulnerable citizens,” DeWine said in a news release from the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department. “By looking out for our neighbors and following proper health safety guidelines, we will make it through this together.”

PHOTOS: National Guard helps distribute food

Second Harvest Food Bank distributed 327,276 pounds of food to over 3,000 households with the help of 15 guards last week, Jackson said.

This week, five additional guards will be assigned to work with Second Harvest Food Bank, Jackson added.

Due to the COVID-19, or coronavirus threat, Second Harvest Food Bank can no longer allow residents to walk in and get food. Jackson explained that the guards have been helping package dry boxes, produce boxes and refrigerated boxes.

The guards are also assisting in distribution through drive-thru pantries and delivering emergency boxes to residents’ homes.

With having only 13 employees at Second Harvest Food Bank, Jackson said, “We are using the guards as our support,”

“Everyone wants to volunteer and they want to help, but with the shelter in place we need people to stay home,” Jackson said.

She said she wants to make sure the food they are distributing is not being compromised in any way.

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“The fewer hands and the fewer touches that we have on the product we are distributing to people, the safer it is going to be,” Jackson said.

Second Harvest Food Bank is not accepting canned goods or other dry food items from residents at this time to ensure that inventory is not compromised. Residents wanting to help are encouraged to do so through monetary donations, Jackson said. This will allow them to buy items in bulk and have those items shipped directly to them.

“We’re very grateful for all of our community partners that have stepped up,” Jackson said.

Second Harvest Food Bank does not have a monthly schedule of drive-thru locations, but they are publishing a weekly schedule.

“As our network of pantries and food resources are closing due to staffing, we may add an extra one or move it to a different location,” Jackson said.

CORONAVIRUS REMINDER: Special store hours for seniors, high-risk in Clark County

Below is this week’s schedule for drive-thru pantries in Clark County: 

Tuesday - 4 to 6 p.m. at Hayward Middle School, 1700 Clifton Ave.

Wednesday - Noon to 2 p.m at Second Harvest Food Bank, 31 N. Sycamore St.

Thursday - 10 a.m. to noon at Kroger Parking Lot, 1822 S. Limestone St.

Friday - Noon to 2 p.m. at Second Harvest Food Bank, 31 N. Sycamore St.

Households can only attend two drive-thru pantries per week, according to Second Harvest Food Bank.

For Champaign and Logan counties' drive-thru pantries schedule, search for Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign & Logan Counties on Facebook.

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