RALEIGH, N.C. – Members of the North Carolina Army National Guard (NCARNG), 1-130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 449th Theater Aviation Brigade, are helping sort, package and distribute food to support COVID-19 relief efforts.“It’s a part of National Guard tradition, being there for citizens in times of need,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Ford of Delta Company, 1-130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion. “The National Guard is always here to step up when needed to ensure we can assist the citizens of North Carolina.”The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina serves 34 counties in the Tarheel State. However, due to COVID-19 and the importance of social distancing, volunteers are staying home. So the Guard was called into action to help meet the demand for food.“Giving people access to not just food but nutritious food is really important,” said Jesslyn Hill, the agriculture partnerships coordinator for the food bank.Within two days, 11 Guard members boxed approximately 37,000 meals and examined and sorted more than 10,000 pounds of fresh produce into family-sized bags to distribute across the southeastern part of the state.“With the National Guard, we are able to move more product faster and more efficiently,” said Marco Rodriguez, the director of volunteer engagement at the food bank.The NCNG partnered with local food banks, North Carolina Emergency Management, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the Veterans Corps to get food to people.For more National Guard news: http://www.nationalguard.mil/National Guard Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheNationalGuard/National Guard Twitter: https://twitter.com/usnationalguardHow the National Guard is helping: https://www.nationalguard.mil/coronavirus/Photos of the National Guard response: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thenationalguard/albums/72157713483827538Latest from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/U.S. response: https://www.coronavirus.gov/White House-CDC response: https://www.coronavirus.gov/