Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford International Airport became the unusual backdrop for a Feeding America West Michigan Mobile Food Pantry this Thursday, Jan. 24. Many federal airport employees – working without pay due to the partial government shutdown – were able to stock up on pantry staples that will help them make it through this trying time.
Generously hosted and funded by the Airport Authority, the Mobile Food Pantry provided 15,000 pounds of food, or 12,500 meals, to 244 individuals, including many Transport Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration agents and their families. Many of these federal employees have now missed two paychecks, but are still working hard to fulfill their duty to keep the public safe during travel.
Feeding America West Michigan knows that the loss of just one paycheck can set off a chain reaction in someone’s life; without enough savings to cover the cost of housing, utilities, medicine, groceries and other expenses, food is often put lower on the priority list – especially during the cold winter months when heating costs are high. The fresh produce, dairy products and dry goods provided by the Mobile Food Pantry should help the attendees – which included 88 children, 17 seniors and 19 veterans – keep their cupboards full for the time being.
Mobile Food Pantries are typically held at schools or churches. However, with the partial government shutdown nearing its sixth week, the Feeding America West Michigan team, along with partner agencies and donors, is committed to helping all those who are in need, wherever they may be.