NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank brought its mobile pantry to the Newport News/Williamsburg Airport (PHF) on Thursday to provide meals for the TSA workers there.
There are 50 TSA workers and they are all impacted by the federal government shutdown. Even though they are not getting paid, they are still showing up for work.
The Foodbank is offering help to the TSA workers as well as other federal employees affected.
“We do this every day, but this is more personal,” said Karen Joyner, who is the chief executive officer for the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank.
Joyner says the American Federation of Government Employees reached out to them on Monday for assistance and the foodbank got on it right away to help.
“They have to pay their mortgage, their rent, their utilities, after they do that, they’re not going to have money left to pay for groceries. They need the assistance of the Foodbank and we want to be here to do that,” she said.
Patrice Daniels has worked for the TSA for 11 years and is the executive vice president for the American Federation of Government Employees Local No. 448.
She says she’s grateful for the food brought to the airport.
“We’ve had this before but this one seems a little different. This is the first one that I feel confident that we won’t get paid anytime soon,” she said about the shutdown.
Daniels says that some co-workers may be worrying about other financial burdens such as gas money and that the groceries will ease that burden.
But overall, the atmosphere at work is different.
“It’s an uncomfortable feeling. It’s a little weird to miss that paycheck and be expected, that’s what it is, expected to show up to work and not be compensated,” she said.
Daniels, who is a single mother of four children, says she already saves money for emergencies, possible unemployment, and her kids, but the shutdown has taught her to save even more.
Officials with the foodbank urge anyone, especially those who may be embarrassed, to come out and ask for help.
The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is also holding a community food pantry every Friday for furloughed federal government employees from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 2401 Aluminum Avenue in Hampton.
For more information, call (757)-596-7188.