The Delaware National Guard assisted the Food Bank of Delaware with drive-thru mobile pantries across the state last week.

About 25 Delaware guardsmen joined hundreds of volunteers April 20, 22 and 24, distributing much-needed pantry items to help address the increased demand for food assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of Delawareans in cars, trucks, minivans, SUVs – and some by foot, bicycle and motorized scooter – maneuvered through the lanes during last week’s drive-thru events.

“These are our citizens. These are our families, our friends, our neighbors,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Berry, adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard. “Our citizen soldiers and airmen are coming here from within Delaware – and surrounding states – to do these types of missions, and certainly, they’re going to have a great perspective in helping the folks that are here to get some assistance because they know them.”

The Food Bank-sponsored mobile pantries, which featured items such as apples, cereal, cheese, chicken, milk, oranges and canned goods, took place at Christiana Mall in Newark, Dover International Speedway in Dover and Sussex Central High School in Georgetown.

In total, the guardsmen and volunteers distributed 279,299 pounds of consumables to 5,935 households, according to the Newark-headquartered Food Bank.

The Delaware National Guard has maintained a partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware for about 15 years. The guard's statewide, year-round campaign, “War on Hunger,” has collected hundreds of thousands of pounds of food items and guardsmen have accrued countless volunteer hours participating.

For information about the Food Bank of Delaware and its programs, visit www.fbd.org. For more about the Delaware National Guard and its state and federal missions, visit www.de.ng.mil.