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    Ohio National Guard member reflects on time spent at food bank: Sgt. Babbitt

    Ohio National Guard member reflects on time spent at food bank: Sgt. Babbitt

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Scott Fletcher | PHOTO 8 - Sgt. Gabrielle Babbitt, a logistics specialist assigned to the Ohio...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Scott Fletcher 

    37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

    CLEVELAND, Ohio—Sgt. Gabrielle Babbitt, a Soldier assigned to the Ohio Army National Guard’s Alpha Company, 237th Brigade Support Battalion, answered the call to action to support her local community and state with the joint task force known as Operation Steady Resolve. The task force was formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and was tasked with providing humanitarian aid to the state of Ohio.

    Since the response began in late March, over 500 Ohio National Guard, and Ohio Military Reserve members have been activated to support food bank operations. The food banks needed extra support because the pandemic increased overall food insecurity and staffing issues.

    Babbitt, along with other members of the 237th Brigade Support Battalion, was tasked to support the Greater Cleveland Foodbank. They spent their time assisting the remaining staff with packaging and distributing critical food to the local community.

    “Giving back to the community has been an incredibly rewarding and memorable experience,” Babbitt said.. “Seeing kids waving at us as we deliver food, families are happy, they’re thanking us. It’s extremely rewarding.”

    With COVID-19 restrictions causing many businesses to close, many individuals found themselves out of work and without a source of income. As unemployment rose,, so did the need for food and hygiene items..
    As food bank customers increased, the Ohio National Guard calmly and effectively metthe increased demands of Ohioans.

    “We’ve produced at least three times as much packaged meals and food as the food bank would normally put out,” Babbitt said. “It’s been a pretty straight forward transition from our normal, military role to packing. We eventually all became one team.”

    The teams and friendships that formed among the Ohio National Guard and food bank staff will be forever cherished as the Guard members transition out of the food banks in August.

    “They [the food bank staff] are all very nice, very personable,” Babbitt said. “They’ve all been very professional. They include us in their personal and professional conversations, and they know us all by our names without even looking at our uniforms. It’s nice.”

    As Babbit reflected on her overall experience, she wanted to share a special message for the food banks:

    “I want to give a thank you to the volunteers and staff at the food banks. The work they do is just as important as the work we’re doing, especially at a time like this. That people can count on them is a big deal. And I would encourage anyone and everyone to volunteer. Get out and do it,”
    Babbit said “It’s extremely rewarding and extremely humbling. It doesn’t matter where you do it, just do it. You might not know, in the long run how it can help someone, but it does. Put more good into the world.”



    Date Taken: 06.22.2020
    Date Posted: 07.01.2020 15:33
    Story ID: 373253
    Location: CLEVELAND, OH, US

    Web Views: 260
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