Kentucky Food Bank works with Guard to provide to community

By Sgt. Nasir Stoner, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Twelve Soldiers from the 138th Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, help support God’s Pantry Food Bank in Danville, Ky., May 7, 2020. Soldiers pack and deliver food during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Nasir Stoner)

DANVILLE, Ky. – Many citizens of Kentucky are in need of food due to the outbreak of COVID-19 causing shortages in stores and lost jobs.

The Kentucky National Guard has taken the needed steps to be able to help provide food to local citizens.

Twelve Soldiers assigned to 138th Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (HHB), worked alongside the First Church of God at the host site of God’s Pantry Food Bank in Danville, Ky., to prepare and distribute 190 boxes of food for anyone in the local community who has been affected by COVID-19. Locals were able to drive up as Soldiers and church members loaded the boxes into their cars.

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“Without the help of the Guard, we wouldn’t be able to support the first-Thursday-of-the-month Boyle County Senior Commodity Distribution Program,” said Lois Pike, administrative assistant at the First Church of God.

The support Soldiers were able to give was very satisfying to citizens and some of the Soldiers who joined the Guard for moments like these.

“I’ve had the opportunity to live here my whole life,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua McElroy, medical section chief. “The people around me have given my family a good life and I figure I owe them whatever I can do to help.”

Spc. Kolton Helm, 138th HHB, delivers food in support of God’s Pantry Food Bank in Danville, Ky., May 7, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st. Lt. Cody Stagner)

The Food Bank was only set up for a few hours before all the 190 boxes of food were prepared and given out to local families driving through in need.  

“Kentucky Army National Guard Soldiers are always ready to support our fellow citizens when the Commonwealth is in need,” said Capt. Thomas Hobbs, Commander of the 138th HHB. “Its always inspiring to see the men and women of our unit step up to serve and our leadership team couldn’t be more proud of the way our soldiers have conducted themselves during this challenging time.”

Soldiers from all across the state have been able to support their own local communities during this pandemic.

“I grew up only five minutes from here,” said Spc. Robert Martin, fire control specialist. “So it’s a huge privilege knowing that I am giving back to the community that made me who I am today.”

The 138th Soldiers have been working tirelessly since they were called for support and are always ready to serve if needed.

“Before this, we were running 24-hour operations to support local law enforcement at several hospitals in and around Lexington,” said Spc. Kolton Helm, a medic. “Coming out here has given me a respectful feeling knowing it’s all about helping our neighbor and I get to see first hand what this means to them.”

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