Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Ohio Could Lose Key Part of COVID Response Support

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2020 at 9:25 AM

  • Second Harvest Foodbank

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio soon could lose a key source of support in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through an emergency authorization, the federal government is funding 75% of the Ohio National Guard's COVID-19 response work through the end of the year. Roughly 1,800 National Guard members are serving in logistical and public health roles.

Julie Chase-Morefied, president and chief executive of the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio, said Guard members are doing the heavy lifting, "helping pull orders, loading trucks, packing boxes, sorting food donations, and then they've helped to set up drive-through mobile distributions."

U.S. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. are leading the request for an extension of federal support. Morefield said Ohio's entire congressional delegation has signed the letter.

"We are so fortunate legislators recognize how critical the National Guard support is," she said, "not only to the food banks, but also to the medical facilities, to correctional facilities, to the nursing homes, to rolling out the vaccine."

Gov. Mike DeWine also has asked FEMA and other federal agencies to extend full federal funding for the National Guard through March 31.

While their deployments are up at the end of this month, the 360 Ohio National Guard members who are serving at food-bank warehouses will begin a two-week quarantine Dec. 17. Chase-Morefield said losing their help unfortunately comes at a time when there are fewer volunteers, and a higher demand for emergency food assistance.

"We had a distribution right before Thanksgiving, and we had over 2,600 families waiting in their cars for hours to receive food," she said, "and you can just see the concern and the worry on their faces."

Since April, she added, Ohio National Guard members have helped distribute more than 33 million pounds of food to families in need.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation