OGDEN (ABC 4 News) – As the government shutdown enters day 17, charitable organizations such as the Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah is stepping up to help federal workers in need.
Normally, CCS of Northern Utah helps an average between 50 to 60 families per day through their food pantry in Ogden. But since they opened their doors to federal workers last Wednesday, that number has doubled.
“With the shutdown, we have a really high concentration of federal workers here in Ogden because of the IRS and Forest Service. A lot of them are just like any other family. They are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Maresha Bosgieter, Director of CCS of Northern Utah. “We are happy to provide food to help offset some of those expenses so they can take care of other needs.”
Theresa Chadwick and her daughter-in-law, Melissa Elmer were two of the dozens of people who showed up to the food pantry Tuesday morning. They both work for the Ogden IRS and have been without work and a paycheck since the shutdown on December 22nd.
“It’s hard for me. Like Melissa, my paycheck pays the biggest majority of the bills,” said Chadwick.
Elmer said she is thankful for CCS’ food pantry, but she feels a slight uncomfortableness using their services.
“I’m glad I have some help to feed my kids,” said Elmer. “But I also feel like I’m a burden, because there are a lot of other people who have it worse and need this more than I do.”
Bosgieter said so far, they’ve been able to meet the need for their food pantry from extra donations during the holidays. But if the shutdown continues for weeks or months, she said they will need additional help.
“Normally the food coming in now, we would space out through the rest of the year,” said Bosgieter. “I definitely foresee, if this continues for much longer, we’re going to need a put a call out to the community to provide some assistance for sure.”
Elmer said with the end of the shutdown unknown, she might have to find another job soon.
“I love my job. I mean, I’ve been there for 11 years,” said Elmer. “But I can’t just sit back and wait for other people to help. I have bills to pay.”
If you are a federal worker in need of food, you can visit CCS’ food pantry between Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Saturday form 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Special evening hours will be held this week on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Bring your work badge or most recent paycheck.