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NC National Guard deploying to 7 food banks to help fill an increasing need amid COVID-19 pandemic

Food banks across our state are trying their best to meet the increased need. Starting...
Food banks across our state are trying their best to meet the increased need. Starting Wednesday, they’ll receive some help. The North Carolina National Guard will deploy to seven food banks.(WNCN photo | WNCN photo)
Updated: Apr. 22, 2020 at 10:26 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Food banks across our state are trying their best to meet the increased need. Starting Wednesday, they’ll receive some help. The North Carolina National Guard will deploy to seven food banks.

“Its just skyrocketed,” Laura Rice with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle said.

They used to pack three emergency food boxes a week, now they do a thousand. They’re also producing 5,000 individual frozen meals.

“Everything we’re doing is geared toward pushing out food for those in need,” Rice said.

About 250 volunteers would come every week to help, but with the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, they’ve stopped accepting them. The exception is their farm.

“A lot of our volunteers are in that at-risk group that’s over 65 [years old], so it was natural that we weren’t going to have them in anymore,” she explained

“We know some of our partner agencies have seen an increase of up to 150% in terms of the number of people they’re seeing,” Jessica Whichard with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina said.

They find themselves in a similar situation.

“We’re hearing this is the first time they’ve needed to come to a hunger-relief organization. That a lot of folks had just been laid off,” Whichard said.

Starting Wednesday, the North Carolina National Guard will be deployed to help. Seven food banks across the state will each receive 40 personnel and 15 vehicles. They’ll assist with warehousing, forklift operations, and distribution.

“That’s a total of nearly 300 North Carolina national guard personnel and more than a hundred trucks support food bank operations across the state,” Mike Sprayberry, the Director of the State Office of Emergency Management said.

“We’re hoping with National Guard we might be able to increase some of that direct distribution,” Whichard said.

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