Food bank helps National Guard troops with food assistance

Food Bank RGV Executive Director Terri Drefke

They came here to help protect the border but now the first wave of Texas National Guard troops deployed after Governor Rick Perry made the call, are needing assistance to pay for food and gas.

"We were contacted that 50 troops that are in the Valley don't have any money for food and gas and they need our assistance, said Food Bank RGV Executive Director Terri Drefke.

They've turned to the Food Bank RGV for help since they won't get paid until September 5th and have been in the Valley since August 11th.

Drefke told Action 4 News they are more than ready and willing to assist the military personnel.

"We have fresh, boxed, and frozen food available Drefke said.

Local lawmakers got wind of the issue when Action 4 News contacted them with our questions.

Texas State Rep, Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) said he is appalled.

"It's embarrassing that our troops have to stand in a food pantry line, Rep. Oliveira said. This is the fault of the state."

Oliveira is willing to use some of his own money to pay for meals for the National Guard deployed to Cameron County, but says all the blame falls on the lack of planning.

"This should not have happened and there will be consequences, Rep. Oliveira said.

Action 4 News waited at the Food Bank RGV for troops to show up today, but they did not.

Drefke said it's a humbling experience for anyone to ask for help, but the Food Bank is opening their doors to the troops to come in a pick up groceries even after hours if need be.

"People find themselves in these types of crisis and they need help, Drefke said. We don't want them to go hungry.

Up to 1,000 National Guard troops are expected to deploy to the Valley soon.