WASHINGTON — This weekend marks the second missed paycheck as federal workers are either stuck at home, or worse, going to work every day and not getting paid for it.
Those in that predicament are finding makeshift food pantries set up in federal office buildings throughout the country. Those at home are reaching out to food pantries for assistance, too.
“Everyone is being challenged with the increased demand,” said Dennis Lewis, manager of community relations for the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services community relations division. “We’re very grateful when we get the additional supply to come in to get to our partners additional food for distribution.”
In this case, the donation made to the Prince George’s County Public Safety Assistance Program came from some anonymous members of the business community. The program normally works to fill food baskets for the holiday, but this donation got everyone back to work again, and without complaint.
“That second consecutive paycheck essentially means that for one month — that’s one-twelfth of their annual income — they haven’t received it,” said Col. Darren Palmer, chief assistant sheriff in Prince George’s County. He noted that with the holidays having just passed, “I think it’s just an added difficulty.”
The food donated Friday, stacked several pallets high at the program’s warehouse in Lanham, is being distributed to more than a dozen food pantries around Prince George’s County, which will then work with furloughed feds who have reached out for help to make sure they can eat.
While this donation came from previous donors to the county, Lewis said there has been one bright spot to stories like this.
“The news that is showing the need is bringing forth even a lot of new donors,” said Lewis. “And we would hope they would stay with us past the crisis to ensure that the many people in need get the support they need throughout the year.
“We are getting new people,” to donate, added Lewis. “But we could always use more.”