SACRAMENTO March 20, 2020 – California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the deployment of California National Guard members to provide short-term food security to isolated and vulnerable Californians. Building on Governor Newsom’s prioritization of protecting the most vulnerable from the COVID-19 pandemic, the short deployment will help to stabilize the immediate need of food banks.
“It’s in these times of crisis that Californians are at their best, coming to the aid of those in their community who are most in need. Food banks provide a critical lifeline for families, and are needed now more than ever. Families across our state are suddenly losing work, and millions of Californians most vulnerable to COVID-19 are staying home to protect their health and the health of others. I ask all Californians who are able to join our Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign to safely assist those in need in your community.”
“The Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign is a testament to the strength of our larger California community,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “Now more than ever we must create a culture of WE over me. I am so proud that Californians across the state stand ready to meet this moment by embracing our California values of inclusivity, generosity and community.”
Due to COVID-19, many food banks have been affected by a significant decline in volunteerism, impacting logistical and local infrastructure for food distribution. The California Guard will initially deploy personnel and logistical equipment to a food bank distribution warehouse in Sacramento County starting today, and will conduct immediate site assessments statewide for those counties that have requested short-term support and stabilization. This short-term assistance from the California National Guard allows time to mobilize AmeriCorps, California Conservation Corps and Local Conservation Corps members, and other volunteers where counties have identified serious gaps.
The Administration’s food deployment strategy also launches the Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign, which calls on neighbors to be first line of support for California’s most vulnerable residents who have been advised to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign is focused on older adults and promotes ways to safely check on your neighbors, family and friends, and will be run by California Volunteers, the state office tasked with engaging Californians in service, volunteering and civic action.
The Administration is partnering with the social networking service Nextdoor to provide valuable information to California communities about the state’s response to COVID-19. The collaboration will allow the state to reach more than 22,000 neighborhoods using the platform. Neighbors use Nextdoor to exchange helpful information and California Volunteers will use this site to share ways residents can safely check on each other during the COVID-19 outbreak. The platform will also be used to share ways to safely ensure community members have the basic necessities they may need during periods of home isolation.
The State of California has also released information to promote resources and options for those facing food insecurity. A resource list will be posted to serve.ca.gov on ways Californians can support vulnerable members of our community that may have limited food resources, in ways that are in line with CDPH guidelines.
Californians can learn about ways to assist their community at serve.ca.gov.