SALISBURY, Md. – The Maryland National Guard began a multiweek mission preparing and delivering meals to an emergency encampment for homeless people displaced due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Five Soldiers from the 115th Military Police Battalion, Maryland Army National Guard, will cook and transport more than two dozen dinners daily to Lake Street Park in Salisbury through mid-May.
“I can’t say enough about my guys and their dedication to what they put forth today,” said 1st Sgt. John Clayton, acting sergeant major of the 115th Military Police Battalion. “We are going to be out here for 25 days bringing dinner chow so they have something hot to eat each night.”
The mission brought together Soldiers from three military police units. In the kitchen of the Blair Crockett Armory in Salisbury, food was added to carryout containers in an assembly line before it was taken to the residents at the encampment, affectionately renamed Camp Hope.
“Having the National Guard help us feed the [citizens] that are experiencing homelessness is a huge blessing,” said Christine Chestnutt, housing and homelessness manager for Salisbury. “It is incredible and makes my heart happy.”
Camp Hope is one of seven food distributions operations across the state assisted by the Maryland National Guard. More than 2,000 MDNG Soldiers and Airmen are supporting Maryland’s response to COVID-19 – part of a nationwide force of almost 41,600 National Guard members activated in the fight.