Federal Employees Continue to Struggle Post-shutdown

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February 4, 2019 By: Tina Mortimer Category: Hunger Stories

It’s a challenging time for many Americans—and not just the ones who rely on SNAP (formerly food stamps) and other hunger relief programs. Across the country, thousands of federal workers and contractors are still facing a temporary need for food assistance.

Even as the government reopens, the threat of an extended shutdown weighs heavy on many federal workers’ shoulders.

There are countless Minnesota families that are still dealing with the repercussions of missed paychecks. Scott, a Monticello resident who has worked for the TSA for eight years at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, suddenly found himself in a precarious situation when the federal government partially shutdown a few weeks ago. Yet he considered himself lucky compared to some of his coworkers.

“We have really been watching what we spend money on and talking to creditors to ensure we’re protected should the situation arise where I would have to miss a payment,” he said.

Scott screens passengers and luggage at the airport’s security checkpoint. He is also a job coach to new hires who prides himself on helping others. Perhaps that’s why, when he heard about his coworkers’ struggles, he reached out to Second Harvest Heartland Snap Outreach Specialist Abigail Renteria for help.

“Abigail provided me with a plethora of information on various food shelves and produce distribution centers, in multiple counties,” he said. “I have used these resources myself and I know they have helped several other people at the TSA. I am not sure what I would have done for myself or to help others without her help and knowledge.”

Taking all the information Abigail gave him, Scott created a single document, which he then passed around to his coworkers and others to use.

Scott, who has called Minnesota home for the past 26 years, has never struggled with hunger or known anyone who has—until now.

“I spoke to a few coworkers who had a real hard time missing one paycheck,” he said. “They were trying to decide between food, gas and paying bills. Those are the ones my heart really goes out to.”

***

Second Harvest Heartland and the agencies and food pantries we partner with continue to prepare for an extended government shutdown. If the newly undertaken federal negotiations yield a deal, countless families will regain the certainty of full cupboards. If, however, there is not an agreement that permanently reopens the government by February 15, our community will face a meal-gap crisis. Our teams and supporters need every day between now and then to prepare to meet the increased need. The people we serve can’t afford for us to wait. Find out how you can get or give help.

 


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