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Food Pantries, Social Service Groups Reach Out To Federal Workers

Susan Haigh
U.S. Coast Guard Culinary Specialist Jerry Wright, right, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin, second from right, stack boxes of donated cereal at Thursday at a pop-up food pantry created at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

Food pantries on Long Island and in Connecticut are preparing to help federal workers as the partial government shutdown continues.

The federal government has not paid many of its workers and some now face food insecurity. They are turning to food banks and pantries to get meals.

Allison Puglia, a vice president at Island Harvest, a Long Island hunger relief organization, said a big problem is federal workers not knowing where to get help.

“Most of these people have never had to ask for help before. It is very humbling to walk through the door and say, ‘I need help,’ and they don’t know where to go.”

Puglia said some workers have started Facebook groups to figure out where they can get help.

Island Harvest is planning a coordinated effort with Long Island pantries and food banks to make sure they are ready if the shutdown continues.

Cici Maher, the CEO of Person-to-Person, a Connecticut non-profit that provides basic assistance for emergency needs, said workers will be able to get the help they need if they have a federal ID.

“We’ll be able to get them food, it’s seven days’ worth of food, three meals a day, based on the size of their family. If they need to sit down and talk with us about financial assistance, we will have our caseworkers available to do that as well.”

Maher emphasized federal workers who receive this assistance will be able to maintain their privacy.