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    Soldiers with forklift certification aid FIND Food Bank warehouse mission

    Soldiers with forklift certification aid FIND Food Bank warehouse mission

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Julianne Showalter | Danny Gonzalez, right, a FIND Food Bank warehouse staff member, goes over shipment...... read more read more

    INDIO, CA, UNITED STATES

    05.22.2020

    Story by Tech. Sgt. Julianne Showalter 

    California National Guard   

    INDIO, Calif. — U.S. Army Soldiers of the 315th Vertical Construction Company, like Spc. Dominic Steveley, are using civilian and military forklift certifications to aid FIND Food Bank warehouse missions to operate more effectively and quickly by driving forklifts to get pallets in and out of the warehouse to where they need to be during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "On the civilian side I’ve done this before, so it was second nature for me. Driving the forklift here helps us get the warehouse work done faster. I’m helping the team,” said Steveley.

    The warehouse moves pallets of dry goods, fresh produce, meat and dairy to shelving or refrigerated storage units. It is a high-volume operation averaging over 350,000 pounds received and over 300,000 pounds distributed per week. The numbers vary weekly based on working days, holidays, distribution events, spoilage and manning.

    Danny Gonzalez, a member of the FIND Food Bank warehouse team, said, "Right now, with COVID-19, it’s been so busy for us with so many families on unemployment. We’ve been able to distribute more food with the National Guard’s help. It’s made it easier for us since the work is non-stop.”

    Gonzalez knows where the food is supposed to go, and he is mentoring Steveley in warehouse operations.

    "I’ve been working very closely with Danny. He helps me know what to pull with the forklift and what needs to go where. I’ll pull those things with the forklift and make sure they get on the right truck. It’s helpful to have him, and he really knows all the fine details of the warehouse,” said Steveley.

    The warehouse also has a fleet of pallet jacks to unload shipments, but the hand-operated pallet jack takes more time. The use of a forklift speeds up the process.

    "As simple as driving a forklift may be, it’s a real honor to advance the food bank’s mission. It's a pleasure to wear this uniform and assist the civilian workers here. They’re hard workers, and they help us to work together and provide a great service to the local community,” said Stevely

    Cal Guard has provided over 30 Soldiers to food bank missions in the Coachella and Imperial valleys, which contribute to a statewide response which has surpassed more than 30 million meals distributed to families in need, so far.

    Soldiers are filling warehouse staff shortfalls in positions typically staffed by volunteers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many volunteers are staying home due to being considered high risk or having high risk family members.

    "I’m so thankful that Steveley is here to help us. Sometimes we’re so busy, and we only have three forklift drivers right now. Having another driver helps us get more things done so we can go home at the end of the day to our families sooner,” said Gonzalez.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.22.2020
    Date Posted: 05.22.2020 21:33
    Story ID: 370690
    Location: INDIO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 41
    Downloads: 1
    Podcast Hits: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN