Facing a second missed paycheck, hundreds of federal workers line up for emergency food bags

Emergency food bags were distributed to hundreds of federal workers affected by an ongoing...
Emergency food bags were distributed to hundreds of federal workers affected by an ongoing government shutdown. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Jan. 22, 2019 at 8:10 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of Hawaii federal workers struggling to make ends meet amid the ongoing federal shutdown lined up Tuesday for emergency food bags — and some words of encouragement.

The food was distributed outside the Seafarers International Union in Kalihi, and lines starting forming hours before the actual distribution started. Over the course of the afternoon, about 300 bags were handed out.

Unlike your typical breadline, every person who showed up has a full-time job. Many came straight from work.

It’s been nearly a month since their last paycheck and they say savings are dwindling.

On Friday, some 800,000 federal workers impacted by the shutdown — which has dragged on for 32 days — are poised to miss a second paycheck.

“I am literally living one week at a time right now,” said Charlotte Kreykes, who picked up a food bag at the Seafarers union Tuesday. “It is the most frightening position I’ve ever been in when it comes to work.”

Kreykes says she took out a loan to cover this month’s bills. And if the shutdown continues, she’ll need a second one.

“I don’t have the funds and I’m at a point right now that I need to reach out,” she said. “This is such a huge blessing. It’s because of the love and the generosity of others that I’m going to have food in my belly at the end of the day.”

The emergency food distribution is made possible through a partnership, with help from Hawaii State AFL-CIO, Salvation Army and the Hawaii Foodbank.

Along with some hugs and words of encouragement, federal workers who dropped by got fresh produce and some pantry staples.

“It’s just enough food to get them by a few days so they can make sure they get to one of our partner agencies. They can do that by calling 211," said Hawaii Foodbank spokesperson Kim Bartenstein.

“Or they can go right to our website we have all the listings across the state where they can get food assistance.”

With the need growing, the Hawaii Foodbank is asking for donations.

To get help or to give it, click here.

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