DUQUESNE, Pa. —
The warehouse at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is normally filled with volunteers from the community, but on Thursday it was filled with members of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
“When we got the call…we literally showed up the very next morning,” said Raymond Pritchard, National Guard. “They called us yesterday and we’re here today to be supportive and help out wherever they need help at.”17 members of the 128 Brigade Support Battalion to Task Force West are packing emergency food boxes at the facility.
“With the nature of this crisis we’ve really had to cut back on the amount of volunteers that we can welcome into our building so we’ve been really strapped in order to pack emergency food boxes,” said Charla Irwin-Buncher, Chief Development Officer of the Great Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. “(They’ll be) doing some of our direct distribution here at the building and also doing some mass distributions as well, so we plan to have the guard plug into all three of those areas.”
On Thursday, guard members were packing 3,000 boxes with food supplies.
“I work at a high school so my job runs with the high school and the high school’s closed and I’m out of a job,” said Kristina Lewis, National Guard. “To be able to come out here and to help with my free time, come out here and help the community with food. I know a lot of people are without food right now because they’re also out of work so it means so much to me to be able to help out my community since I’m from Pittsburgh.”