By Shawn Raymundo

Gov. Gavin Newsom deployed members of the California National Guard on Friday, March 20, to help get food to the state’s isolated and most vulnerable citizens of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The move, the governor’s office explained, is meant to provide short-term food security as food banks across the state have seen a shortage of volunteers while experiencing additional needs amid the global health crisis.

“Food banks provide a critical lifeline for families, and are needed now more than ever,” Newsom said in a news release. “Families across our state are suddenly losing work, and millions of Californians most vulnerable to COVID-19 are staying home to protect their health and the health of others.”

California Guard personnel and equipment were deployed to a food bank distribution warehouse in Sacramento on Friday, according to the governor’s office. Guard members were also expected to conduct site assessments of the counties that have requested support and stabilization.

“This short-term assistance from the California National Guard allows time to mobilize AmeriCorps, California Conservation Corps and Local Conservation Corps members, and other volunteers where counties have identified serious gaps,” the governor’s office said in its release.

In addition to deploying the National Guard, Newsom’s administration also launched the Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign—an initiative that “calls on neighbors to be first line of support for California’s most vulnerable residents.”

The campaign, which the California Volunteers state office will head up in coordination with the social networking site Nextdoor.com, will focus on getting food to the elderly who have been advised to stay home during the pandemic.

“The Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign is a testament to the strength of our larger California community,” First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom said in the release. “Now more than ever we must create a culture of WE over me.”

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