A donation drive to help furloughed federal workers in Little Rock is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The initiative, known as Little Rock Cares, was started by federal employees at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport as a way of helping each other during the partial government shutdown.
Airport spokesman Shane Carter said it was expanded to a citywide effort when the needs outstripped the resources of airport employees.
"The TSA [Transportation Security Administration] employees of Little Rock are not calling in sick. They're fulfilling their oath. They're coming to work, taking care of passengers, but they are struggling. They are struggling to put food on the table and pay their bills," Carter said.
According to Carter, morale is still high among the airport's employees, but the shutdown is causing significant stress.
The donation drive is being organized by the city of Little Rock, the airport, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and the Arkansas Foodbank. According to the mayor's office, nearly half of the state's 14,000 federal employees have been furloughed or are working without pay. Little Rock is home to 500 federal employees who are going without paychecks. All of the city's furloughed federal workers can benefit from the donations including those working at the Veteran's Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the federal law enforcement officials living in Little Rock.
"I do know there are a number of financial leaders within the business community and banking community that are looking at different ways to help advance paychecks. There are still some legality issues with that, but that's a possibility," Mayor Frank Scott said. "We will continue to figure out new opportunities to be helpful to all citizens."
The mayor also urged community members to contact their representatives and senators in Congress to encourage them to support finding a way to end the shutdown.
Requested items include: low-sodium canned vegetables, soups, and chili, canned fruit, tuna, chicken, and salmon, rice, peanut butter, and applesauce. The organizers request that no items in glass containers be donated. Store-specific gift cards for gas and groceries are also on the wish list.
The following donation locations will be open Tuesday, January 22, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Wednesday, January 23, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.:
- Arkansas Food Bank
- Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance
- Clinton National Airport
- First United Methodist Church
- NW Division of the Little Rock Police Department on Kanis Road.
Learn more here.