MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It was a steady line at The North Frayser Community Center Thursday morning for a “mobile food bank.”
Most everyone receiving meals, courtesy of the Mid-South Food Bank, are federal workers impacted by the partial government shutdown.
“The FBI has come through and some of the Cost Guard, TSA and IRS,” Belynda Terry, the Agency Relations Manager at The Memphis Food Bank, said.
In fact, furloughed IRS workers made up the majority of food recipients at the event. Some of the volunteers, like Rhonda Hernandez, are IRS employees themselves.
“I had to keep myself busy. I volunteer, I give back to the community. It’s rewarding in the end,” she said.
Hernandez, who works at the IRS office on Getwell Road, is disappointed over the shutdown and how it’s affected her co-workers.
“It’s sad. I do feel like we are pawns,” she said.
While a variety of food items are handed out, there’s growing concern about keeping the shelves stocked at the food bank’s warehouse in Memphis.
“We’re basically handling this situation as if it were a disaster. Because we are providing direct distribution to those employees who are furloughed or working without pay,” Estella Mayhue-Greer, President and CEO of The Mid-South Food Bank, said.
She says the partial federal shutdown means the community will hopefully “step up” with food and money donations.
She also pointed out that federal workers have donated faithfully to the food bank for years. So it would be wrong not to help them now.
“It’s only natural that we’re here to help them when they need us. They have volunteered with the food bank in addition to raising food and funds, so it’s time to give back to them.”
To find out how you can help The Mid-South Food Bank with donations of food or money you can visit their website.