Federal employees affected by the government shutdown are reportedly turning to local food banks to get through the ongoing funding lapse, which is headed into its fourth week.
The Capital Area Food Bank, D.C.’s largest food aid group, organized five pop-up food distribution centers for government employees in recent days.
About 200 people showed up to one of the centers on Saturday to pick up bags of produce and canned foods, according to NPR. Over the weekend, the Capital Area Food Bank gave away 30,000 pounds in fresh produce.
Some 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or working without pay during the partial government shutdown, which was triggered by President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE’s request for over $5 billion in funding for a border wall with Mexico. Democrats have refused to include border wall money in a bill to fund the government.
Radha Muthiah, the food bank’s president and CEO, told NPR that the workers are “just worried about where to get their food.”
"We've had someone say 'I'll pay you back after I get my paycheck, but I just need [food] now.’ ”
"It's hard for a lot of people," Muthiah added. "It's a matter of pride, being able to have taken care of themselves and their families and now having to depend on others."
The Capital Area Food Bank primarily helps people near or below the poverty line, but has expanded its services in response to the shutdown and said it would do so until the government reopens, NPR reported. About 250,000 federal employees live in the region, according to NPR.