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Food bank helps unpaid federal workers in Southwest Florida

Posted: 4:06 AM, Jan 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-18 09:10:57-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A mobile food pantry to help federal employees who are struggling to make ends meet during the federal government shutdown will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Southwest Florida International Airport. The event will be at 16000 Chamberlin Parkway, Lot #12.

A second mobile pantry will be held at the same location from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank , the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties, Lee County Human & Veteran Services and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation are partnering to hold the pantry, focusing on TSA and air traffic controllers. However, all local federal employees who need help are invited.

Local TSA officials say 393 employees are being affected by the federal government shutdown, now in its 26th day. Those attending the pantry will receive non-perishable food along with bread and produce. In addition, the United Way will provide 211 resources, a free 24-hour non-emergency line to help people navigate their way through human and social service agencies in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties.

“The current shutdown has created an economic emergency for many government employees and their families,” said Richard LeBer, president and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “We’re glad to be able to provide some assistance to those who are struggling to feed their families."

Cliff Smith, president of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee Counties, added: “Our United Way and our United Way 211 program are pleased to be working in collaboration with the Harry Chapin Food Bank, the Lee County Department of Human and Veteran Services and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to support our local federal employees who have been impacted by the shutdown. The well-being of these hard- working employees and their families is very important to all of our organizations and to our community.”