Food Bank of Eastern Michigan thankful for Michigan National Guard work extension

Critical help in the fight against COVID-19 will now stay in place through the end of March
Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 10:16 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (12/03/2020) - Critical help in the fight against COVID-19 will now stay in place through the end of March.

On Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced she secured another extension to keep the Michigan National Guard here through March 31st. She says the troops will play an essential role in the distribution of vaccines to Michiganders as we await those shipments.

Since the start of the pandemic, the National Guard has helped deliver tests and protective equipment across the state, helped with more than 200,000 COVID-19 tests, and helped handle the distribution of more than 14 million pounds of food.

”We’ve been hoping for this news. The National Guard has been just absolutely amazing in the work that they’ve been doing at the food bank,” Kara Ross said.

Ross is the President and CEO of Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. She says during the holiday times, they usually have 200-300 volunteers in the building helping out on a Saturday, but not this year.

“With the pandemic, we’ve had to cut our access to having volunteers in the building, so the Michigan National Guards filled in and helped out, really becoming vital to what we’re doing,” Ross said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan is doubling their food distribution from last year, distributing almost 90,000 pounds of food per day, sending 55 semi-trucks per week from their Flint facility out to 22 counties.

“Right now, we just simply couldn’t do it without the help that we’re receiving from the Michigan National Guard. Anything from pulling orders and loading trucks to sorting food and keeping us on track with holiday boxes. They’re just doing amazing work,” Ross said.

That amazing work will continue. Their 21 Michigan National Guard members approved to stay on job past the end of December. They’ll continue lending a helping hand for three more months through March of 2021, something that’s critical at this point, especially with more people who need the support for the very first time.

“We anticipate a heightened need for year going all the way through next year, taking families months and months to recover and get back on their feet,” Ross said.

For more information or to visit the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan website, click here.

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