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Maryland Air National Guard and Baltimore County Executive Pass Out Groceries in the Community

Technical Sgt. Erica Brown, command support staff assigned to the 235th Civil Engineer Flight, Maryland Air National Guard hands out bread to a member of the community while supporting efforts to distribute meals and groceries to local communities, May 2, 2020, Baltimore, Md. The program is designed to ensure citizens of the local community have food and groceries while schools and work places are closed. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Enjoli Saunders)

Technical Sgt. Erica Brown, command support staff assigned to the 235th Civil Engineer Flight, Maryland Air National Guard hands out bread to a member of the community while supporting efforts to distribute meals and groceries to local communities, May 2, 2020, Baltimore, Md. The program is designed to ensure citizens of the local community have food and groceries while schools and work places are closed. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Enjoli Saunders)

Members of the Maryland Air National Guard place boxes of groceries on a Maryland Transportation Mobility bus for a member of the community while supporting efforts by the Maryland Food Bank and Baltimore County Department of Parks and Recreation to distribute meals and groceries at the Mars Estates Police Athletic League center in Essex, Md., May 2, 2020. The mission helps food insecure citizens have enough while schools and work places are closed. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Enjoli Saunders)

Members of the Maryland Air National Guard place boxes of groceries on a Maryland Transportation Mobility bus for a member of the community while supporting efforts by the Maryland Food Bank and Baltimore County Department of Parks and Recreation to distribute meals and groceries at the Mars Estates Police Athletic League center in Essex, Md., May 2, 2020. The mission helps food insecure citizens have enough while schools and work places are closed. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Enjoli Saunders)

Airman 1st Class Clarissa Smith, a personnelist assigned to the 175th Force Support Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard, passes a box of groceries to Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski while supporting efforts by the Maryland Food Bank and Baltimore County Department of Parks and Recreation to distribute meals and groceries at the Mars Estates Police Athletic League center in Essex, Md., May 2, 2020. The mission ensures citizens have enough food supplies while schools and work places are closed. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Enjoli Saunders)

Airman 1st Class Clarissa Smith, a personnelist assigned to the 175th Force Support Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard, passes a box of groceries to Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski while supporting efforts by the Maryland Food Bank and Baltimore County Department of Parks and Recreation to distribute meals and groceries at the Mars Estates Police Athletic League center in Essex, Md., May 2, 2020. The mission ensures citizens have enough food supplies while schools and work places are closed. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Enjoli Saunders)

Essex, Md. --

ESSEX, Md. - Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. and Airmen from the Maryland Air National Guard distributed meals and groceries to residents at the Mars Estates Police Athletic League center May 2. The mission is a partnership with the Maryland Food Bank and the Baltimore County Department of Recreations and Parks PAL centers to ensure citizens have enough food while schools and work places are closed.

“We are meeting a need and putting thousands of meals on the street, meeting a food and security need here in the county,” said Olszewski. “These are people from our community serving our community. To have the National Guard stepping up and lead in this way, we are very fortunate and we welcome their support.”

In less than a month, 20 airmen from the 175th Wing distributed over four thousand meals and more than 28,000 pounds of groceries at the Mars Estates PAL center and Shady Spring PAL center in Rosedale. Maryland National Guard soldiers are also working at five other PAL center locations in the county.

“It has been great having the National Guard here, it’s been a welcomed addition,” said Wade Henninger, the Mars Estates PAL center coordinator. “Everyone I have worked with from the Maryland Air National Guard has been fantastic, their attitudes have been great. You can really tell they are genuine and one hundred percent here to help.”

Working with MDNG has enabled the county to expand dozens of community support sites resulting in more than one million meals being distributed, according to Olszewski.

“I am so happy to be here serving with the Baltimore County Executive and PAL center members, it is really rewarding to be able to serve the community in this capacity,” said Tech. Sgt. Erica Brown, command support staff for the 235th Civil Engineer Flight, MDANG. “The people we help really show their appreciation for what we are doing and I feel blessed that I can help and touch their lives.”

The Mars Estates meal distribution site opened March 13 and the Airmen were assigned to the mission about a month later. There is no closing date set as the need of the residents keeps on increasing. “We are all in this together and we will continue to help each other as much as possible until our communities become strong again,” said Brown.