Feeding America West Michigan to provide Mobile Food Pantry at Grand Rapids airport during government shutdown

Grand Rapids, Mich. — January 21, 2019 — On Thursday, January 24, Feeding America West Michigan will host a Mobile Food Pantry for federal employees working at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and other members of the community in need of food assistance.

As the fifth week of the federal government shutdown begins, thousands of government employees are working without pay. This includes TSA agents and other Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Transit Administration employees working at airports around the country.

There are more than 100 federal employees working at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, all of whom are impacted by the federal government shutdown. For those employees, every dollar counts when it comes to stretching their savings far enough to cover their bills, groceries, utilities and other expenses during this trying time.

Fortunately, communities around the nation are partnering and stepping up to support the workers. The Airport Authority has graciously partnered with Feeding America West Michigan by funding and hosting the upcoming Mobile Food Pantry for federal employees at their facility. In addition to hosting the Mobile Food Pantry, the employees of the airport in Grand Rapids have rallied to provide snacks and meals during working hours for the federal employees working on site.

“We appreciate all federal employees who continue to work while not being paid to keep passengers safe and airports across the country running smoothly,” said Brian Picardat, Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority interim president and CEO. “All of the tenants have been pitching in to help feed our federal colleagues while they are at the airport. Providing this pantry truck from Feeding America [West Michigan] will help keep food on the table at home.”

For Feeding America West Michigan, providing the service was a no-brainer.

“Day in and day out, we strive to serve our neighbors who need a helping hand,” said Ken Estelle, president and CEO of the food bank. “There are countless scenarios which may lead a community member to seek out our resources, whether it be medical hardship, lack of access, or in this case, a loss of income. We are proud to serve the federal employees who are working without pay.”

The Mobile Food Pantry will provide a variety of fresh produce, dairy products and dry goods and is open to anyone in the community who finds themselves in need. The truck will contain 15,000 pounds of food; enough to provide several days’ worth of groceries to 300 households.

While next week’s Mobile Food Pantry is scheduled as a one-time event, should the federal government shutdown persist, the food bank and its partners will work to continue supporting federal employees however possible.

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s Mobile Food Pantry is scheduled for Thursday, January 24 at 11:30 a.m. Please bring a container in which to collect and transport your food.

The distribution will take place at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. To locate the Mobile Pantry, community members should turn into the main airport entrance (John J Oostema Blvd) and turn right at either one of the first two available right turns. Then, turn left on Ross Dr. and follow to the employee parking lot. Please reference the attached map.

For those who wish to support Feeding America West Michigan and our efforts, please visit feedwm.org/donate or call 616-784-3250.