National Guard soldiers helped El Pasoans Fighting Hunger pass out food on Wednesday at the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry in Central El Paso. (Robert Moore/El Paso Matters)

National Guard soldiers have been assigned to help El Paso’s food bank in the face of overwhelming demand caused by job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been awarded 109 Guardsmen assigned to us as of yesterday. They are a godsend!” El Pasoans Fighting Hunger CEO Susan Goodell said Wednesday.

About 20 Guardsmen were visible Wednesday morning at the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry in Central El Paso, bringing food from a warehouse and placing boxes in cars that drove through the parking lot. The Guardsmen were all wearing face masks, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

National Guard soldiers placed food in car trunks at the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry in Central El Paso on Wednesday. (Robert Moore/El Paso Matters)

The National Guard is frequently used to provide aid during disasters. Texas was recognized as a disaster area because of COVID-19 on March 25.

$1 million matching contribution

El Pasoans Fighting Hunger could still use volunteers, but the biggest needs now are donated masks and monetary contributions to match a $1 million donation announced on Monday, Goodell said.

The matching grant comes from the Paul L. Foster Family Foundation and the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, in partnership with the MountainStar Sports Group Foundation. The organizations will match up to $1 million in contributions to El Paso’s food bank.

“As more families face new financial constraints due to COVID-19, we wanted to help make sure those families are still able to put food on their tables and that nobody in our community suffers from hunger during this crisis,” said Woody Hunt, co-owner of MountainStar Sports Group and chairman of the Hunt Family Foundation.

For more information on how to contribute to the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank, visit or call (915) 298-0353.

Disclosure: The Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation is a contributor to El Paso Matters.

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986.