DAYVILLE, Conn. – Members of the Connecticut National Guard partnered with the American Red Cross and the Department of Emergency Management to deliver boxes of food to families.
Through the Farmers to Families Food Box program, food that was destined for restaurants and bulk purchasers is rerouted to food-insecure households.
The federal government implemented Farmers to Families in April under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The law authorizes the Department of Agriculture to buy up to $4 billion of food from U.S. producers. The boxes are then distributed to schools, food banks, faith-based groups and other nonprofit organizations that serve families.
Air Force Master Sgt. Sarah Lateano, with the 103rd Airlift Wing, has been mobilized for multiple relief missions during her career. She said the Guard’s ability to mobilize troops rapidly and operate in a joint environment contributes to the efficiency of the Farmers to Families mission in Connecticut.
“We have been working with different state and military agencies to get personnel and assets here within 24 hours to make sure that we can fulfill this mission,” said Lateano. “We come in and get the food to where it needs to go.”
The Guard provided the staffing and heavy equipment to transport approximately 480 food boxes. Each box contained fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products or meat, or a combination.
The mission was a new experience for Airman Zachary Martineau, who joined the Guard less than two years ago.
“During hurricanes, they activate the National Guard. During riots, they activate the National Guard. They also activate us for stuff like this,” said Martineau, a transportation specialist assigned to the 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron. “It feels good being on the front lines to help families that are in need. I feel like we’re actually making a difference.”