As government reopens, food help still available for federal workers

Tim Jimenez
January 28, 2019 - 8:21 am
The severe weather is causing major headaches for travelers at Philadelphia International Airport. These travel snarls are having a ripple effect throughout the Northeast.

Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio

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UPDATED: 11:26 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The government shutdown may be over, but federal workers who are still waiting for paychecks to come in can still go get some help at Philadelphia International Airport. 

From now through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., TSA officers, air traffic controllers, and other government workers will still have access to the food pantry. Airport spokeswoman Diane Gerace says the decison to keep it open was a no-brainer.

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"We expect that it's going to be at least several days before these employees get a paycheck," she said. "Plus, our pantry is very well-stocked."

The pantry is so full, the airport is no longer accepting donations. Gerace says they have enough food, baby formula, diapers, personal care items and store gift cards. Every little bit has helped,and so far Gerace says during the last week, about 1,000 workers have come in.

"Not only the federal employees who work here at the airport," she said, "but we have also seen some federal employees who work for agenices outside of the airport."

Airport officials say they are grateful for the donations, many of them coming from people traveling in and out of Philly International. 

"We had received a number of inquiries from folks who said they were flying through, and they wanted to know where they could drop off donations. Some people just flying in were asking, 'Well, how can I help?' And it was just really overwhelming," Gerace said. "The whole community came together to help these folks, and it was just a good thing to see."

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A spokeswomen with hunger-relief nonprofit Philabundance says the once-a-week emergency market for federal workers at Front and Tasker streets in South Philadelphia will still be taking place this Wednesday and next Wednesday. 

"Though we are investigating an alternate location for this Wednesday, in case of freezing temperatures," said Stef Arck-Baynes.

The organization had promised the market would be open two weeks after the shutdown ended. 

CLARIFICATION: The story is updated to reflect that the pantry will be open through Thursday.