Furloughed Columbia TSA workers say thankful is an ‘understatement’ for food donation

January 17, 2019

Furloughed Columbia TSA workers say thankful is an ‘understatement’ for food donation

CAYCE, SC - Roger Edwards, Celeste Maurone and Dan Hunley work for the Transportation Security Administration at Columbia Metropolitan Airport. On Thursday, they stood on a dock at the airport’s east side in the chilly weather and watched as Harvest Hope Food Bank unloaded boxes of food.

A pallet with a mound of baguettes was rolled out of a box truck. The Harvest Hope truck driver unloaded another stack of boxes labeled “fresh greens” and “fresh vegetables.”

Thankful, “that’s an understatement,” Edwards said.

“You could even say very” thankful, Maurone said.

Sixty seven people, all TSA workers at Columbia’s airport, like others across the country, are working without pay as the federal government shutdown drags toward 30 days — the longest shutdown in American history.

Harvest Hope donated to Columbia’s TSA workers around eight pallets of “things you would need for your pantry and refrigerator,” said Mary Louise Resch, who works with the food bank.

The food bank is treating the shutdown like a disaster.

“We have natural disasters and man-made disasters,” Resch said. “They did not cause the shutdown. … (The food) reduces at least one stressor.”

Resch said she wanted all government workers to know “you don’t need to be afraid to ask for help.”

“Just knowing this is going to people who have been there every day working since the shutdown, it’s our honor,” she said while standing beside Edwards, Maurone and Hunley.

So much food was donated that it couldn’t fit into the corridor where the pallets were dropped off. The managers and supervisors of the TSA at Columbia’s airport have shifts set up for workers to pick up what they need.

The donation is also a way to thank TSA workers for what they’ve done for Harvest Hope Food Bank. Each year, the Feds Feeding Families event sees which federal agency can donate the most supplies to Harvest Hope. Last year, the TSA gave more than any other agency, Resch said.

Before leaving, Resch shared a hug with Edwards and Maurone.

“This is our little bit of a way to say thank you,” she said. (Click to see the video)

- Travis Bland, The State

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