National Guard staffing Flint food bank, state committing $150 million for coronavirus

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer offers an update on Michigan's response to coronavirus.
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (3/30/2020) - Michigan National Guard members will be staffing the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan beginning Monday, according to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

She and legislative leaders also announced the state is committing $150 million more for the fight against coronavirus.

Whitmer, Sen. Mike Shirkey, Sen. Jim Ananich, Rep. Lee Chatfield and Rep. Christine Greig said in a joint statement that the additional funding expands on the $130 million already spent by state government, bringing the total to $280 million.

So far, the state has spent funds on obtaining:
-- More than 20 million masks.
-- More than 2,000 ventilators.
-- Nearly 9 million ounces of hand sanitizer.
-- More than 255,000 boxes of gloves.
-- 2.4 million gowns.
-- More than 2,000 beds.
-- 210,000 testing supplies.
-- 3,000 thermometers.
-- 185,000 face shields.
-- 22,000 cartons of disinfecting wipes.
-- Other needed supplies.

The new funding will be spent to make sure Michigan has the resources necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

Whitmer also announced Monday that about 10 Michigan National Guard members will be assisting the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and other food banks in Ann Arbor, Comstock Park and Pontiac until mid-April.

They specifically will focus on helping with mobile food distribution sites serving 300 to 600 Michigan families per day. Their efforts include directing traffic, packing bags and handing them out to vehicles.

“The aid that men and women of the Michigan National Guard will provide to Food Banks across Michigan is further proof that the Michigan National Guard is a true cornerstone of Michigan communities,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The National Guard members have been provided personal protective equipment, including gloves and hand sanitizer, to wear during the food distributions.

The National Guard already has been active since March 18 helping assemble and load critical protective equipment for health care providers, including gowns and face shields.

“As the response to COVID-19 continues, we stand ready to serve our neighbors, family, and friends in the communities in which we live and work,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard.