State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

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Food bank boosts service as federal workers miss paychecks

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 14, 2019 9:23 PM
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A bag of food bank provisions. Along with canned and dry goods, the Central PA Food Bank plans to give furloughed workers things like milk, eggs, and frozen meat. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is launching extra services for federal employees struggling during ongoing government shutdown furloughs.

Starting this Tuesday afternoon, they're giving out food packages at two central warehouses from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Thousands of federal employees in the commonwealth missed their first paychecks of the shutdown last Friday.

Joe Arthur, who runs the Central PA Food Bank, said that probably means some are hitting a financial breaking point.

"We wanted to get on this quickly and have a plan ready, because these families are going to be really worried," he said. "We assume that this week would be the week where people really start to feel in crisis and reach out."

More than 12,000 Pennsylvanians aren't getting paid during the shutdown.

Arthur said it's hard to know what demand will be like. He's taking hints from previous state shutdowns, like one in 2009 when hundreds of people showed up every day for food.

The food bank serves 27 counties in total. Typically, its hubs in Harrisburg and Williamsport source, purchase, and distribute food. 

For the rest of the shutdown, they'll be maintaining their usual operations while giving out food to any furloughed person who comes with their work ID.

"That's actually a pretty substantial undertaking," Arthur said. "The good news is, we have the food...Our team will work extra hours, we'll have more volunteer help, and we'll get it done."

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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