United Way, Chapin offer shutdown help for federal employees

Local federal employees who are affected by the government shutdown and struggling to buy groceries and other necessities can find help from a mobile food pantry on Friday, January 18th from 11:00 to 1:30 p.m. at Southwest Florida International Airport.  The pantry will be at 16000 Chamberlin Parkway, Lot #12. 

A second mobile pantry will be held at the same location from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, January 25th.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank, the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties, Lee County Human & Veteran Services and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation are partnering to hold the pantry, primarily for TSA and air traffic controllers; however, all local federal employees who need help are invited.

Local TSA officials say 393 employees are being affected by the federal government shutdown, now in its 26th day. People in need will receive non-perishable food along with bread and produce. In addition, United Way 211 will provide information and referrals to other available resources.  United Way 211 is a free 24-hour non-emergency helpline for health and social services that provide food, housing, child care, veterans services, and more in Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties. To contact United Way211, simply dial 2-1-1, or (239) 433-3900

“The current shutdown has created an economic emergency for many government employees and their families,” said Richard LeBer, president and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “We’re glad to be able to provide some assistance to those who are struggling to feed their families.”

Cliff Smith, president of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee Counties, added: “Our United Way and our United Way 211 program are pleased to be working in collaboration with the Harry Chapin Food Bank, the Lee County Department of Human and Veteran Services, and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to support our local federal employees who have been impacted by the shutdown.  The well-being of these hard- working employees and their families is very important to all of our organizations and to our community.”