APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — The White Oak Foundation Food Pantry says it’s seeing a surge of furloughed federal workers coming in for assistance as the government shutdown hit its 31st day.
Kathleen Lee, the director of human services for the White Oak Foundation, says they’ve served approximately 450 to 500 TSA workers alone, and their average number of shoppers has tripled, from 1,000 to around 3,000.
“I always say we fall into needs, and when we got a call asking us if our food pantry could accommodate these furloughed employees, of course we rallied to the cause,” Lee said.
The pantry coordinates food deliveries with The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, receiving supplies from stores like Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Whole Foods and more. Lee said once they saw the number of people impacted by the shutdown, they began organizing pop-up pantries across the state and have been overwhelmed by the turnout.
“Whenever they come here to shop for their groceries – this is money they can have to put on their light bill or their utility bill or their rent,” Lee said. “It’s a feeling of gratitude on my part to be able to serve them, and I tell them this – we are so grateful to serve you at this time of your need – this is what we do and is what we are here for.”
The White Oak Foundation Food Pantry will remain open five days a week until the shutdown ends. For more information on hours or how you can help, visit their website here.