DUNN, N.C. - North Carolina Army National Guard Soldiers of the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade work alongside volunteers from Team Rubicon, a veteran disaster relief service organization, Action Pathways, a non-profit organization, and the Second Harvest Food Bank Southeast to distribute food to approximately 250 families here at the Midway Elementary School, June 18, 2020. NCARNG Soldiers assigned to the 2-130th Airfield Operations Battalion and the 1-130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion worked together with local organizations to help feed citizens during COVID-19. "It's a very humbling experience," said NCARNG Sgt. 1st Class Jason Norris, assigned to the 1-130th ARB. "You actually get to see face to face the families that you're helping." NCARNG Soldiers helped distribute meals and fresh produce such as potatoes, apples, watermelons, oranges, lettuce and meat. As food rations dwindle and unemployment rises, families have found themselves in difficult circumstances. Therefore, the NCNG is working with North Carolina Emergency Management, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and local food banks to help support COVID-19 relief efforts. "It feels good," said NCARNG Spc. William Best, assigned to the 2-130th AOB. "You actually get to see that you're making a difference." Team Rubicon worked alongside the Soldiers during the food distribution to help provide the community with nutritious meals and produce. Team Rubicon and the Guardsmen communicated and worked in an organized fashion to distribute an accurate amount of food to each family in an efficient and timely manner. "It's a wonderful working relationship," said Norris. "The comradery these groups have is absolutely astounding." Team Rubicon's efforts have made a tremendous impact in helping with COVID-19 relief operations. Volunteers from across the state gathered to dedicate their time and help fellow Tar Heels in need. "It's been a pretty amazing dynamic," said Claudia Suarez, a volunteer for Team Rubicon. "As a volunteer I've worked with the National Guard in the Patriot Southeast exercise and now here at the food bank. We're two different organizations but we have similar missions and similar goals as humans."
Story by Spc. Hannah Tarkelly