National Guard Will Continue Work at Second Harvest through End of Year

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Ohio National Guard will continue to serve at Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley through the end of the year.

Since the pandemic began in March, roughly 20 members of the National Guard’s 237th Support Battalion have worked full-time at the food bank. Among their duties have been distributing food to member agencies and manning the Traveling Food Pantry events throughout Mahoning County.

“Members of the Ohio National Guard have provided outstanding service to our community,” said Michael Iberis, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank, in a statement. “These soldiers have provided a lifeline for thousands of hungry people throughout the Mahoning Valley these past several months.”

Food insecurity and unemployment rates remain high, Iberis noted, which has created a “perfect storm” for Ohio families.

“As Ohioans face the relentless repercussions of COVID-19, we’re grateful to be able to serve our community, and we would not be able to do it without these Guard members,” Iberis said. “Their prolonged sacrifices have been so important and we thank them for their service. And, we thank Ohio’s leaders for recognizing this and for their foresight and leadership.”

The Traveling Food Pantry was launched as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic to help meet the increased need for food. Each week, the Food Bank and its network of member agencies are filling more than 20,000 requests for emergency food assistance in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Pictured: Members of the Ohio National Guard distributing food at a Traveling Food Pantry event in Struthers in March.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.