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Governor Jay Inslee stated in his press conference on April 1st that 140 Washington National Guardsmen will soon be deployed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by assisting local food banks in King, Pierce, Franklin, Chelan and Walla Walla counties. Gov. Inslee explained that the National Guard is NOT being deployed to enforce the stay home initiative, but to assist food banks with an important service of distributing food to those in need.
Many food banks are staffed with volunteers that fall into the at-risk category for complications from COVID-19. The at-risk category has been defined by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention as those who are 65 or older and people who have serious underlying medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. National Guard assistance would allow these volunteers to stay at home.
“We have temporarily lost a good deal of our regular volunteers because they fall into the ‘vulnerable’ category due to age, health, or the need to care for a loved one,” said Nikki Lloyd, Executive Director for Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank. “While we have seen an increase in new volunteers, we desperately miss seeing those faces.”
Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank at 122 East 3rd Street in North Bend is one of the food banks that will receive National Guard assistance. They will help with packing bags and boxes of food, unloading our truck, and delivering bags and boxes to cars on distribution day.
“The National Guard supports our entire country and they know what important pillars food banks are to their communities They have been sent as a support to make sure that we continue to be able to be that pillar to our neighbors in the Snoqualmie Valley,” Lloyd added. “They are going to be fantastic and helpful and I am very grateful for their support.”
The Guardsman will be at the food bank on Tuesdays from noon – 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. throughout April. The food bank is open Mondays, for our Seniors only (65+) from 9:30 -11 a.m., and open to all from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays from noon – 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9:30 - 6:30 p.m. They are currently operating under a "grab and go" model for people to get their food with prefilled bags/boxes of food consisting of both shelf stable and fresh foods for meals for a week.
About Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank: The food bank plays a vital role in the work to end hunger in the Snoqualmie Valley. Each week, they rent a 26’ truck and a food bank volunteer drives to South Seattle and Kent to pick up food from their partner agencies, Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest. They also partner with Eastside Baby Corner and local grocery stores. Volunteers rescue close-to-date perishable and non-perishable food items for distribution.