“The move, the Food Bank announced Aug. 17, will keep several programs it’s implemented running smoothly at least until then, Vice President and spokeswoman Allyson Vaulx said in a release. The 26 men and women who’ve been lending a hand are as glad to be helping as the Food Bank is glad to have them, at least according to one National Guardsman, Ryan Gonzalez.
“People are hurting, it does not matter who you are or what you do, COVID has affected everyone,” he said in the release. “If it were not for the opportunity to work here, I would probably be in that line, too, waiting for food.”
What happens when they do leave, though, is something to which no one at the Foodbank is looking forward.
“We’re very thankful to Gov. (Eric) Holcomb, the State of Indiana and the federal agencies that have extended the Guard’s deployment with us,” CEO Victor Garcia said. “We’re not sure how many volunteers it’s going to take to replace their help and how their absence will affect our programming when we’re still in a pandemic, and so many of our volunteers are seniors who’re high-risk. And we’re anticipating working under these conditions until June of next, at least.”
The quantities of food the Food Bank has been giving out has abated but remains extremely high in the face of the pandemic and people who’re unemployed or underemployed, Garcia said. In June and July, the Food Bank issued 13,000 boxes of food per month, down from 16,000 boxes in April, he said.
In January and February, however, it gave away 6,400 boxes and 6,500 boxes respectively, or slightly more than half of what it’s doing now. Pre-pandemic boxes took 600,000 pounds of food, he said; in June and July, it went through 1.1 million pounds of food.”