When local food bank Food Finders donated over 800 pounds of non perishable food items last week to Transportation Security Administration employees at Long Beach Airport working without pay because of the federal government shutdown, it was a no-brainer.

“It was an opportunity to give back to them,” said Diana Lara, director of operations for Food Finders.

The airport in the past has participated in its neighbor’s summer and holiday food drives (Food Finders’ office is in a nearby facility).

Lara said Food Finders reached out to TSA to see if they could assist employees with food when management told them they had just started a food pantry at the airport. An estimated 155 TSA employees in Long Beach are affected by the shutdown, she said.

Eric Lara, who handles Food Finders’ social media and marketing and went on that delivery on Jan. 16, said workers were grateful.

A lot of the workers are married to each other so they’re not getting any payments, Eric said.

It was a pleasure to drive down the street and provide food to TSA employees. Yas and Scott helped restock their new…

Posted by Food Finders on Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Food Finders is just one of the airport neighbors providing help for employees as the country enters its 34th day of a federal government shutdown that is affecting about 800,000 employees nationwide. Workers face a second missed paycheck on Friday.

Over the last week, employees have received meals at work from elected officials and airlines like JetBlue and Southwest.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal, who represents Long Beach, said in a Facebook post early Friday morning the House of Representatives is working to reopen the government as soon as possible.

“The House has passed over a dozen pieces of legislation to restore funding, and will be voting on several more this week,” Lowenthal stated.

While Congress continues to try to reach a deal, Food Finders says it will continue to stock up the pantry. Anyone interested in donating to the food bank, which has clearance to enter the airport, can do so by calling 562-283-1400 or clicking here. Food Finders is accepting non perishable food items, hygienic items and protein like meat and beans.

Airport officials said airlines have also been coordinating with the airport to provide meals to employees. If anyone is interested in donating meals they can call the public affairs office at 562-570-2678.

Long Beach-based FreeConferenceCall.com is also holding a gift card drive to help TSA and air traffic control employees at the airport during the shutdown.

Employees affected by the shutdown can also click here to find resource information.

Stephanie Rivera covers immigration and the north, west and central parts of Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.

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