San Benito County will enlist help from the National Guard to help provide food bank services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
County officials held a meeting Tuesday and confirmed they will utilize the National Guard, as other counties have, to help out at the Community Food Bank of San Benito County.
There was some discussion among supervisors – and disagreement – about use of the National Guard. In the end, supervisors voted 3-2 – with Jaime De La Cruz and Peter Hernandez dissenting – to go forward with a request for help from the guard. That debate came despite the board previously authorizing CAO Ray Espinoza to make many logistical decisions regarding the coronavirus impact.
Officials noted how Santa Cruz County had moved its food bank distribution services to the fairgrounds in Watsonville as well, although local officials didn’t explicitly broach such a move to a larger, central location here.
Supervisors Jim Gillio and Mark Medina both commented how it amounts to mixed messages if the county is insisting people stay at home as much as possible, but then turn down the opportunity for help from National Guard professionals. Supervisor Anthony Botelho noted how many nonprofit volunteers locally are older in age and that it would be “foolish” to turn away potential help from the guard.