STEVENSVILLE — The Maryland National Guard is currently working throughout the state, aiding in a variety of different missions, including food distribution at local schools, churches, community centers and food banks. Those missions are crucial for citizens of Maryland who are unable to make ends meet under the current circumstances.

For Senior Airman Sarah McClanahan, a public affairs specialist with the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard, it meant she would be serving food insecure residents in her home town of Stevensville by sorting and handing out groceries.

“Considering I currently work and live in Baltimore City for the MDNG, I never imagined I would be supporting a mission in the town I grew up in,” said McClanahan, who is also the social media manager and photographer for the MDNG state public affairs office. “It’s an incredible feeling to be able to give back to the community that helped shape me into the person I am today.”

McClanahan’s love for photography began in her early years, when her aunt would give her disposable cameras and let her run around her backyard snapping photos. In high school, she fell back in love with photography as her artistic medium, and when she decided she wanted to take her craft more seriously.

When she enlisted into the Air Guard, she was studying photography in college, and serving as a photojournalist was the perfect opportunity to gain real-world experience and hone her craft. She enjoys traveling internationally to document MDNG Soldiers and Airmen. But, for her it feels special to be helping her neighbors back home.

“I’m very proud to be able to visually tell the Maryland National Guard’s story of how we are supporting communities impacted by COVID-19,” said McClanahan. “But, it’s great to be able to directly help those in my hometown and provide food to those who need it.”

The MDNG continues to support partner organizations in a variety of missions, working together to take care of the residents in Maryland for as long as it takes. McClanahan knows this is a marathon and not a sprint, so she encourages her fellow citizens to look out for each other throughout this pandemic.

“This is a stressful time for everyone and everyone is experiencing it differently,” said McClanahan. “Take time to check on your family, friends and your neighbors because together is exactly how we will make it through these strange times.”

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