St. Anne Community Outreach is partnering with Feeding the Valley Food Bank to once again offer assistance to local federal employees affected by the recent government shutdown.
The Outreach Center opened their food pantry Jan. 23 and will do so again Jan. 30. from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Employees will need to show a federal employee identification to receive assistance. The center is located at 1820 Box Rd. in Columbus. The United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley is also scheduled to be there to offer information about other assistance.
The effort began as a conversation between Katie Byers, the center’s director, and Rev. Robert Schlageter, the pastor at St. Anne Catholic Church.
“Our priest Father Robert said, you know what Katie I’m really concerned about the TSA workers at the airport,” said Byers. She offered to reach out to them via phone call, but he chose another option.
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“He said no, get in my car, we’re going over to the airport,” Byers said.
She said they spoke with a TSA supervisor and discovered there were 25 TSA employees who hadn’t been paid in a month, some of whom had begun to struggle.
Byers said 21 families, representing six different federal agencies, visited on Jan. 23 for assistance. Since then they have partnered with Feeding the Valley Food Bank for this week’s effort, realizing there could be delays for employees getting their back pay.
“We wanted to make sure that no one in Columbus that’s a federal employee that serves all of us is going hungry,” Byers said, adding they’re keeping an eye on mid-February.
“If the government shuts down again we’ll continue to do it as long as it’s needed,” Byers said.
People who would like to donate non-perishable food, hygiene items, or cleaning supplies can drop them off at St. Anne Community Outreach Monday through Thursday between 8:30 a.m. and noon.
St. Anne Community Outreach is a ministry of St. Anne Catholic Church and was established to provide food and clothing to people in great need or in emergency situation. Depending on the availability of funds, the center may also provide financial assistance for utilities, rent and prescription costs.
Its secondary mission is to provide the following items when donated and if space is available: infant care items, linens and blankets, fans, elderly-care items, toiletries, small household items and school supplies.