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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A historic day in Harvesters’ 40-year history. Volunteers hosted their largest distribution to date.

This well oiled machine keeps lines of cars moving through the Truman Sports Complex.

Harvesters served about 100,000 pounds of food to nearly 8,000 people, or 1,600 households.

“It’s one less thing to worry about, you know, I’ll have some food on the table and things to make,” Mary Klein, who received food, said.

Klein said her daughter and son-in-law got laid off work because of COVID-19. Now, their family of four is depending on Klein social security check that just isn’t cutting it.

“It’s a great help because my grandson eats a lot,” Klein said. “A growing boy.”

Klein’s not alone. Fredicka Rabon is an independent contractor that has four grandchildren and a husband to feed.

“It’s very needed,” Rabon said. “There’s a lot of kids that don’t have, and families that don’t have, don’t have jobs and can’t go back to work. It’s really a blessing. I’m really appreciative of harvesters to do this.”

Harvesters said many of their agencies are seeing a 40% increase. This distribution in Jackson County marks their largest in Harvesters’ 40 year history.

“Many of these people have never needed food assistance before,” Harvesters Director of Communications Sarah Biles said. “That’s a very humbling experience to have to need and come to this kind of a distribution to get something to fulfill a basic need.”

Harvesters set up shop at Arrowhead Stadium to ease the burden on their normal distribution network. To help get the job done, they called in the National Guard.

Sixty soldiers and officers with KCPD directed traffic, while volunteers – some with the Royals – packed up frozen meat, fresh produce and non-perishable items.

“It really brings in perspective just how many people are in need,” Missouri National Guard Captain Mitchell Woodrum said, “The fact that we get to help those people in need is an amazing thing and I think that my soldiers and myself are thankful to be involved.”

“I’m just thankful for all the help I can get, my family can get during this crisis,” Klein said.

Harvesters wants families to know, “feeding America” is a priority.