CLEVELAND — Members of the Ohio National Guard arrived at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank on Monday morning to begin their humanitarian work during the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a proclamation that activated approximately 300-400 personnel from the Ohio National Guard to support the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks at locations throughout the state.

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"The action I've taken to activate the Ohio National Guard will provide support  to our food pantries that are low on staff and need help getting food to some of our most vulnerable citizens," said Gov. DeWine in a statement. "By looking out for our neighbors and following proper health safety guidelines, we will make it through this together".

National Guard members from the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Columbus will assist local food distributions in Allen, Butler, Clark, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Hocking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, and Summit counties.

Guard members will help in transporting, packaging and distributing food to homes in vulnerable areas, community-based locations and partner agencies in rural counties. Major General John C. Harris, Adjutant General for the Ohio National Guard, explains more about their humanitarian service in the below video.

The Ohio National Guard says it is ready to support any additional requests in response to the COVID-19 crisis. They have had experience working with civilian authoritites in dealing with homeland emergencies, such as: 

  • In 1978, Ohio National Guard soldiers helped evacuate stranded motorists, delivered supplies and cleared snow during a massive blizzard.
  • In 2009, when the H1N1 Pandemic hit, soldiers distributed vital vaccinations and medical supplies.
  • During the 2017 hurricane season, more than 400 Ohio National Guard airmen and soldiers deployed to Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to assist in recovery efforts.

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