KENT COUNTY, Mich. -- Tomorrow marks yet another payday where federal workers will go without a check. However, some of them in West Michigan got a helping hand today from a mobile food book.
Feeding America West Michigan rolled up to Gerald R. Ford International Airport with 15,000 pounds of food in tow. Organizers said more than 100 federal workers are employed at the airport, including TSA and FAA agents.
James Marsiglia, a TSA agent said, "We've got to kind of stay positive. It sucks right now that we're not getting paid but staying positive."
"I know me and my fellow workers are tryin' to keep morale high," he continued.
The TSA agent said money is tight. So the mobile food pantry will allow him and his family to stretch their savings to use elsewhere.
Marsiglia said, "Me and my fiancée are both government employed so both are kind of impacted by this right now. It's kind of been tough, but I'm glad people out here have been able to do this kind of thing for us."
"I once participated with Feeding America to help feed other poor families. So it's kinda nice having them be able to return the favor," he recalled.
Thursday’s food bank visit was funded by the Airport Authority.
Brian Picardat, interim president and CEO of the Airport Authority said, "Feeding America approached us and wanted to do something for the federal government workers. So we were welcome to have them out here, and we're hoping to have a good turnout."
Many employees are not actually furloughed but are continuing to work without pay. The food bank understands many are finding themselves in unfamiliar territory.
Shay Krick, program coordinator with Feeding America West Michigan said, "People are always grateful. They're grateful that we are here."
"There is always a little bit of shame attached to receiving some food assistance. So we try to make it as light and as fun and as friendly for them as possible, smiling faces. They are modeled after farm markets for a reason. We want people to know that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. We all need it sometimes and we're just here to provide it to them," Krick explained.
It's temporary relief for a shutdown they hope ends very soon.
Marsiglia said, "I love my job. I would come here whether I was getting paid or not because I'm doing a service for the public. So either way, hopefully it ends soon, but I guess we just need to wait and see if they figure it out."
Organizers said the event took about 10 days to plan, but Feeding America hosts mobile food pantries throughout the year. Check out http://www.feedwm.org for more information.