Lt. Col. Jonathan M. Shiroma
Chief of Media Relations/Director, Public Affairs 916-854-3391 

May 28, 2020

Release #20-XX

Volunteers needed as Cal Guard prepares to phase

out of food bank mission

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Volunteers is calling on Californians to come forward to help at food banks as the California National Guard prepares its planned phase-out of the food bank mission.

“Supporting food banks is critical and essential and our service members are doing incredibly well assisting in this mission,” said Major General David S. Baldwin, the commanding general of the Cal Guard. “As our Soldiers and Airmen prepare to move on to different missions especially as the wildfire season kicks off, it is essential for volunteers to step-in and pick up from where the Cal Guard leaves off,” said Baldwin.

Due to COVID-19, many food banks have been affected by a significant decline in volunteerism, impacting logistical and local infrastructure for food distribution, while also experiencing an increase in demand for their services. As the state re-opens, volunteers are needed to support food banks. Precautions are taken to ensure volunteer safety.

California Volunteers is working with each food bank receiving Cal Guard support to create individual plans to generate local volunteer capacity and provide a seamless transition to an all local volunteer force, including leveraging the tens of thousands of Californians who have signed up to volunteer through #CaliforniansForAll.

“Cal Guard has done what it does best — meeting a critical need at a critical time that ensures our communities remain safe and healthy during a crisis,” said Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday. “In a little over two months, they have served more than 36 million meals at 21 food banks in 27 counties. Now, we as Californians must take up the charge by volunteering at local food banks to ensure this critical need continues to be met.”

Cal Guard Service members have been supporting food banks since Governor Gavin Newsom activated the Cal Guard in mid-March. Since that date, Cal Guard Soldiers and Airman have successfully assisted in organizing, packing, palletizing and in some cases delivering food to those in need.

“The Cal Guard has provided critical logistical and operational support for California’s food banks during the COVID-19 health and hunger crisis. We are thankful to all the Cal Guards for their service and to California Volunteers for their continued support of our community food banks,” said Stacia Hill Levenfeld the CEO of the California Association of Food Banks. “The Cal Guard and California Volunteers efforts to assess and support the unique workforce needs of each food bank during this time of transition is vital to ensuring that food banks are able to continue to meet the unprecedented demand for food. California food banks know that high levels of hunger persist long after a disaster ends, and remain steadfast in their commitment to feed the increased need for nourishment in our communities.”

“The Cal Guard is always ready, always there for the well-being of the citizens of the great state of California,” said Baldwin.

For more details, please contact Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma at 916-854-3391.