Community comes together to help government workers without a paycheck

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Central Florida is coming together to help workers struggling without a paycheck.

None of the federal employees working at the TSA, air traffic controllers and FAA are getting paid. Without a paycheck coming in, the airport created a food pantry to help them out.

It started with a few bags at the donation drop off.

“I said hey let me pack some stuff before I go take my flight,” Marie Whitsett said.

Then came the shopping carts and luggage carts filled with donations.

“Body wash, some soap, whatever I had,” Carrie Murray said.

“Some canned goods, toiletries, things that they said they needed on the news,” Chip Connors Morrison said.

The donations came from community members, travelers, and fellow airport employees.

“Well because I see these guys all the time,” Murray said. “They’re not getting paid and I am. So that’s why.”

“We’re in this together,” Yolanda Miller said. “Everybody. If one person is shutdown. We’re all shutdown.”

Hundreds of federal employees at the airport continue to report for work despite a paycheck in sight.

“There’s a sense of just fatigue,” said Ken Sheele, a facility representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. “We’re just tired. Stress levels are going up.”

Sheele handed out flyers warning travelers about the safety impacts of the shutdown on behalf of air traffic controllers.

“Safety is a big compromise right now,” he said. “The stress factor of the controllers is being compromised.”

He said they were understaffed before the shutdown. Now they’re all putting in six-day work weeks and ten hour shifts.

“It’s admirable,” Miller said. “I don’t know if I would do that. It’s admirable.”

A big reason why others want to help.

“It’s nothing we can do anything about on the ground level, except for maybe helping out a neighbor,” Whitsett said.

Airport officials said federal employees will be notified on Thursday through their agencies on how they can pick up some donations.