JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Nearly 200 Soldiers and Airmen with the Missouri National Guard are delivering school lunches in communities across the state as part of the Guard’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In some communities, Guard members are also helping prepare meals for students.In conjunction with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Guard is providing additional personnel necessary to distribute and deliver food to families that are unable to pick up food themselves. Most of the locations served through this effort are rural school districts that face a shortage of workers.“The bulk of our students don’t live within the city limits, so it’s a little more challenging for those families to make it in to pick up food,” said Dena Smith, superintendent of Osage County R-II School District. “When I learned the National Guard was a possibility to help with resources, I jumped all over it. Our Guardsmen are a trusted resource, so I expect the number of families we’re serving to grow.”Guard members at Osage County packed and delivered meals to 44 children across the district, while district employees staffed a pickup location distributing 230 more meals.“I like doing something worthwhile and helpful to everybody around me, which is the reason I signed up,” said Spc. Ross Schlichting, with the 1221st Transportation Company. “I want to help my community and my state, so being able to deliver food for these kids is an honor.”Members of the Guard are to assist schools in 11 communities throughout the state, including:Cape Girardeau 63 – Cape Girardeau.Hickman Mills C-1 – Kansas City.KIPP – St. Louis.Lee A. Tolbert Community Academy – Kansas City.Marshall.North St. Francois Co. R-I – Bonne Terre.Osage County R-II – Linn.Portageville.Richland R-I – Essex.Warren County R-III – Warrenton.Wright City R-II – Wright City.For more National Guard newsNational Guard FacebookNational Guard TwitterHow the National Guard is helpingPhotos of the National Guard responseLatest from the CDCU.S. responseWhite House-CDC response