FORT KNOX, Ky. — A small team of veterans from Fort Knox are back in business making an impact on the community all this week.Known as Helping Hands, the American Red Cross food pantry program will provide a sack full of canned and boxed staple products to all Soldiers ranked E-6 and below 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. May 13-14 and all veterans during the same time May 15. The food bank is located in Bay C of Building 1750, which is between Eisenhower Avenue and 1st Infantry Division Road on post.The program lead, Tangela Brooks, said COVID-19 has put a damper on the regular giveaway, until now.“We normally do this every month,” said Brooks. “COVID has heightened the need, and it has affected everything we do. This is our first food giveaway since COVID.”For instance, the pandemic has altered the way the team operates.“When we were closed down, we were only doing emergency operations,” said Brooks. “If there’s an emergency where you don’t have food, we’re still here.”Emergency services include practically everything a family would need to get back on their feet, including bedding and pillows, dishes and silverware, pots and pans, clothing and even toys for the little ones.These days, frequently used bottles of sanitizer lay around in strategic locations and all the volunteers wear face coverings as they stock shelves and sort through donated items.During this week of giving, Brooks said they will also provide the food differently.“Normally when you come in, you’re able to shop for clothing and the food is staged for you to take,” said Brooks. “Here, we’re not allowing anyone to come in to keep down the spread of the virus.”As people arrive for the aid, Brooks said they will need to drive up to a bay door on the left side of the warehouse, directed by small white signs with red arrows and police cones. Once at the bay doors, a team of Soldiers from various local units will load the sacks into each vehicle — either on a back seat, floor board, or the trunk.The need has been there in the past. According to Brooks, they normally serviced 30-50 families a month prior to the outbreak. Whether families will participate in this offering remains uncertain, though Brooks thinks the numbers could be higher.“Now that we’re opening up for veterans and retirees on Friday, I’m expecting a greater turnout,” she said.A retired sergeant first class, Brooks said she is fortunate to have a solid crew of fellow retired noncommissioned officers who work well together at Helping Hands and share a common mission, but she’s always looking for more to join the team.“We’re here to assist Soldiers and veterans, to take care of our community,” said Brooks. “That part of the NCO Creed never leaves you.”______________________________________________________________Editor’s Note: To donate food to Helping Hands, purchase one of the sacks of groceries displayed at the commissary, or call the American Red Cross at 502-624-2163.