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Florida National Guard deploys to help Feeding Tampa Bay pack 1.7 million meals for families in need

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Posted at 5:32 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 11:26:31-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Feeding Tampa Bay called on the Florida National Guard to help pack and ship 1.7 million meals for local families struggling during the pandemic.

When Feeding Tampa Bay came calling, Tristan Payne pulled on his military uniform, laced up his boots and got to work in the middle of a sprawling warehouse.

The 22-year-old second lieutenant in the Florida National Guard was laser-focused and precise in his duties: lifting crates of food and packing boxes.

After all, millions of people were counting on him to help feed their families.

"Everybody that has this uniform on is dedicated to the call of service, whether it’s helping with coronavirus testing or working at a food bank like this one,” says Payne.

Staggering unemployment numbers due to the pandemic have led to an exponential amount of Tampa Bay area families in need of food support.

Since April, Payne and the Florida National Guard have helped pack and ship more than 1.7 million meals for Feeding Tampa Bay. He is honored to help.

"When we take off this uniform at the end of the day, we’re your neighbors, so we want to help the community any way we can,” says Payne.

For more information on Feeding Tampa Bay, food pantry locations and volunteer opportunities, click here.