North Philly church takes up collection for those impacted by government shutdown

Cherri Gregg
January 20, 2019 - 4:00 am
New Kingdom Baptist Church

Courtesy Rev. Daniel Jackson

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A North Philadelphia church took up an offering to help federal workers impacted by the government shutdown. It was a much needed surprise.

"I was in the middle of church, so I wasn't expecting it," said Lashanda Palmer, who has worked for the Transportation Security Administration at Philadelphia International Airport for 17 years. She says she has survived three government shutdowns. But the single mother of five says this is the first time she's ever been in a position of need.

"I don't work for just a regular person," she said. "I work for the government. So it's hard. I have people that depend on me, I have obligations."

Last Sunday, Palmer's church family at New Kingdom Baptist Church on Mascher Street took up a collection. 

"We saw an opportunity to be a blessing to someone in need," said Rev. Daniel Jackson, senior pastor. He says congregants were generous and they collected $500 and surprised Palmer in the middle of the service.

"I don't pastor a large congregation," he said, "so people came out and gave sacrificially."

"It was very heartfelt, because I am normally on the other side where I am a giver rather than a receiver," said Palmer.

She is considered essential personnel and must show up to work each day at the airport, even without pay. But with a long commute she needs gas money, food for her children (one has a birthday coming up) and, soon, she'll need to pay rent.

"My rent is $1100 a month," she said, "I live in this man's house. I know he needs that money to pay his bills."

Palmer says this is a very tough time and not just for her; many TSA workers are struggling together.

"We don't know what's going to happen," said Palmer, "some people are going to welfare."

But the silver lining has been generosity of her church family and the work.

"The people who are traveling, they keep saying thank you and how grateful they are," said Palmer. "I think they showed how appreciative they are through this furlough more than ever before."

So she'll keep working every day, hoping the shutdown gets shut down soon.