SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Even though there’s a deal on the table to end the partial government shutdown and reopen the federal government for several weeks, the pain of the last 35 days has been very real for federal workers.
An emergency food pantry opened Friday in Scranton to help anyone in need.
Two organizations that normally help people recognized all the stress that the shutdown has been causing.
They didn’t know at first if federal workers would turn out for assistance but they did.
Tim O’Malley waited patiently inside Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church Friday.
He hasn’t gone to work in 35 days and came out to get help from the emergency food pantry.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never gone through something like this before,” Tim O’Malley said.
O’Malley works at the Steamtown National Historic Site which has been closed since December 22 when the partial government shutdown began.
“I’m very thankful for Saint Luke’s to have the space for us and all the people contributing,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley and several other federal workers came out to get a helping hand.
The Friends of the Poor teamed up with the CEO Weinberg Food Bank to make this special giveaway possible.
“We’ve seen several people in our pantries in the last two weeks or so and we just thought there’s definitely more people who don’t know where we’re located or what we do!” Meghan Loftus, CEO/President of Friends of the Poor said.
Kayla Lacomis’ husband works for the FAA at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
She says they’re frugal and have savings so they’re able to manage at this time.
Her husband has been going to work everyday and not getting paid.
“We want to make sure that when our grandkids come, we have stuff for them!” Kayla Lacomis of Covington Township said.
Congressman Matt Cartwright helped many of those who turned out Friday.
He plans on bringing these real stories back to Washington DC as lawmakers have three weeks to prevent another shutdown.
“We’re talking about real people with real lives and I wanted the granular stories!” Rep. Matt Cartwright said.
Now the big question is, with the short-term deal announced Friday will this be the end of workers worries or will it be deja vu come the middle of next month? Only time will tell.