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Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday deployed the California National Guard to assist food banks statewide serving residents whose needs have not been met due to food shortages during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom said the short-term deployment will initially assist a food bank distribution warehouse in Sacramento County and will also assess the needs of other California counties that have requested assistance with their food bank programs.

“It’s in these times of crisis that Californians are at their best, coming to the aid of those in their community who are most in need. Food banks provide a critical lifeline for families, and are needed now more than ever,” Newsom said in a statement released Friday night. “Families across our state are suddenly losing work, and millions of Californians most vulnerable to COVID-19 are staying home to protect their health and the health of others.”

Newsom put the guard on alert earlier this week, saying it would focus on both humanitarian and public safety needs. Newsom specifically pointed out that the state wanted to ensure that “food delivery is happening appropriately” and expressed concern about grocery stores overwhelmed by customers hoarding food and other essential household goods.

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