Units of the Michigan National Guard based at Ft. Custer in Battle Creek have taken on many roles assisting the state during the COVID-19 virus outbreak. They’ve been delivering medical supplies, helping with virus test sites, and making sure food banks around the state get the help they need to keep things rolling. About a half dozen Guard troops are now assigned to the South Michigan Food Bank here in Battle Creek to help with food packaging and distribution at least through the end of November.

The food bank’s Summer Sunnock describes the troop's role as essential to helping the food bank transition to a drive-through distribution program. Volunteers and guard troops have been packaging and pre-packaging boxes and bags to hand out.
The food bank has been helping people with food needs throughout 8 area counties by distributing to 285 food pantries in its service area. About 100,000 people are served through the food pantries and a few hundred more are able to drive directly to the Battle Creek food bank and the drive-thru program. Twice as many people are served locally today compared to March.

The guard troops have helped fill a void as many volunteers have been unable to help due to safety concerns. And it's work. In one recent day, the Guard troops packaged more than 2,500, two-pound bags of granola. Two and a half tons. And the work goes on.

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