California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered the deployment of California National Guard members to fill vacancies left by the loss of volunteers who are unable to fulfill their obligations at local food banks due to Coronavirus restrictions.
According to the governor’s press office, the guard will initially deploy personnel and equipment to a food bank distribution warehouse in Sacramento County. The guard will also start conducting assessments statewide in counties that have requested short-term support.
“Families across our state are suddenly losing work, and millions of Californians most vulnerable to COVID-19 are staying home to protect their health and the health of others,” Newsom said in a statement. “I ask all Californians who are able to join our Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign to safely assist those in need in your community.”
As many as 500 soldiers could be deployed.
“Soldiers from the 115 Regional Support Group have already deployed to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services Center and they will be there all weekend to help staff impacted by the mandatory stay at home order,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma said.
The Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign, as Newsom is calling the initiative, is focused on older adults and promotes ways to safely check on people. It is expected to be run by California Volunteers, a state office dedicated to service, volunteering and civic action.
California is also joining with the social networking site Nextdoor to provide COVID-19 information to more than 22,000 neighborhoods. Volunteers will use the site to share ways residents can safely check on each other during the COVID-19 outbreak and make sure they have the necessities.
The state of California has also released information to promote resources and options for those facing food insecurity. A resource list will be posted to serve.ca.gov on ways Californians can support vulnerable members of our community that may have limited food resources, in ways that are in line with CDPH guidelines.
As of Thursday, 2,000 members of the National Guard are assisting governors in 27 states. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, head of the National Guard Bureau, told NPR that tens of thousands of guardsmen could be called up to help state efforts to combat the coronavirus in the coming weeks and months.
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