DEHLI, N.Y. – New York Army National Guard Soldiers spent a day helping volunteers distribute 700 canisters of whipped cream, 4,000 half-gallons of milk and 1,000 containers of yogurt, half-and-half and other dairy products to those in need in rural Delhi April 30.Eight Soldiers from Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, were called to the State University of New York’s Delhi campus to lend a hand as volunteers prepared, packaged and distributed hundreds of dairy care packages to Delaware County residents.More than 100 miles northwest of New York City, Delaware County is one of the most rural counties in New York. More than 15% of its population lives below the poverty line.“It’s about getting food out to the people who need it,” said Pfc. Caelan Haney. “I think that bringing people together and lending a helping hand makes the community stronger, especially in these smaller more separated communities.”What was dubbed the “Drive through Dairy” was the inspiration of Jackie Oliver, a field supervisor for Agri-Mark, a dairy farmer cooperative.Because restaurants and schools are closed due to COVID-19, farmers have surplus dairy products. Oliver was inspired to find a way to provide food relief to her community after hearing of a similar dairy donation program in another central New York town.Using work contacts, Oliver was able to scrape together thousands of dairy products from local and regional producers to be given to residents free.“I’m just doing this because this is how I was taught,” Oliver explained. “You have to start somewhere, and I’m starting with my neighbors.”“I have been on the phone and email non-stop,” Oliver said. “I just started calling people and I didn’t take no for an answer.”On April 30, the volunteers and Soldiers assembled 700 canisters of whipped cream, 4,000 half gallons of milk, and 1,000 containers each of sour cream, half-and-half, coffee creamer, yogurt cups and cottage cheese into individual family care packages.The donation center was in its second week of operations when the New York National Guard was asked to help.“Last week, we did this and I didn’t think anybody would show up,” Oliver said. “We had 700 cars show up and traffic was backed up all through town.”Oliver, who had been working closely with SUNY Delhi University Police and the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, was told the New York National Guard could help.By reaching out through Delaware County, National Guard help was arranged through the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.Haney, an infantryman in Delta Company, said it was a good mission. “We are helping load dairy products that we are going to distribute to people in need and to local organizations like churches and schools,” he said.During the afternoon, the volunteers and Soldiers braved wind and rain as they placed single care packages in every vehicle that passed through the drive-through donation center. In just a few hours, more than 800 vehicles went through the line.Along with individuals, various organizations benefited from the donations. The total number of care packages distributed to the community reached almost 1,000.“It’s about getting food out to the people who need it,” Haney said. “I think that bringing people together and lending a helping hand makes the community stronger, especially in these smaller, more separated communities.”Haney, who has been a member of the National Guard for three years, knew that serving in uniform meant the possibility of serving his local community.“I was always picturing hurricanes and floods and stuff like that, but community-endangering events come in many different forms,” Haney said. “This isn’t what I anticipated, but I’m glad we’re here for it. Doing stuff like this is the reason I joined the Guard.”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/