ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Help for federal workers without pay continues to pour in at the Orlando International Airport, as the country enters day 27 of the partial government shutdown.
Around 1,500 federal employees just at the Orlando International Airport have shown up to work for nearly four weeks without getting paid. So, the airport and Frontier Airlines organized a donation drive for food and toiletries to be donated to employees in need.
On Wednesday, dozens of people dropped off bags of donations. The donations came from community members, travelers, and even fellow airport employees. Donations continued to come in on Thursday. A meeting room has already been filled with canned goods, snacks, toiletries, diapers and more. This is the result of just one day of giving.
“How does it make us feel? You know that makes us feel really good actually because it shows that the community is behind us,” Ivan Hernandez, a union member of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), said.
“Everybody’s come together,” AFGE union president Deborah Hanna said.
FOX 35 was given a rare look inside the TSA breakroom at OIA where Hanna was cooking up hot dogs for the officers.
“This is for our officers so they can have something to eat,” she said. “AFGE has bought food, all of the airlines have kicked in food, they bought the donuts that you saw on the other side.”
It’s a chance to fill up before going back to work.
“Passengers also know that we’re working without a paycheck,” Hernandez said. “They know that we’re working longer hours, they know that we’re trying to make sure that it’s an uneventful day.”
With no paycheck in sight, union workers said it’s important to keep spirits high and show appreciation. Whether it be a meal or a thank you.
“A smile goes a long way,” he said.
Union workers tell FOX 35 some passengers have tried to give cash tips to the TSA agents. They said while it is a nice gesture, they are unable to accept the money.
Airport officials tell us that the donations from the food drive on Wednesday will be available to federal works beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday.