Members of the California National Guard arrived in the eastern Coachella Valley Monday morning to help shore up a dwindling volunteer workforce at local food banks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
FIND Food Bank, which supports more than 120 feeding sites throughout the region, has lost nearly 70% of its volunteers and will be assisted by 25 members of the state National Guard, according to Jose Arballo, a Riverside University Health System spokesman.
National Guard members arrived Monday morning to begin lending a hand, FIND President and CEO Debbie Espinosa said.
Guard members were working alongside FIND employees to pack food bags, load food into trucks and deliver bags of food at mobile food markets.
“California National Guard will not perform any law enforcement activities,” Arballo confirmed previously.
FIND feeds about 90,000 people each month and the organization expects to ramp up operations due to the economic hardships brought on by the pandemic, Espinosa said.
Riverside County Board of Supervisors Chair V. Manuel Perez expressed gratitude for the help.
“We welcome the National Guard’s assistance with the distribution of food and pitching in for FIND Food Bank, whose senior citizen volunteers are no longer able to come pack food boxes,” he said. “I want to thank the National Guardswomen and men who do what they have always done — answer the call and report for duty to assist our communities in times of need.”
FIND Food Bank is located at 83775 Citrus Ave. in Indio, can be reached at 760-775-3663.
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