MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX) — President Trump’s acceptance Friday of a stopgap deal to get furloughed government employees back to work answered the most pressing question for federal employees: “When will the government shutdown be over?” But most of those workers still have not been paid and the strain on their families and budgets remains.
The shutdown may be over but the recovery for furloughed federal employees is just beginning.
“It’s very embarrassing and it’s very hard to come forward and say, ‘I need some help.’ That’s why I’m here today,” said NASA Ames employee Sherri Shore.
The Second Harvest Food Bank organized a food pantry in Mountain View for more than two hundred NASA employees whose finances were sent into a tailspin by the longest government shutdown in the country’s history.
Second Harvest Food Bank vice president Cat Cvengros told KPIX “What we’re noticing is that there’s a heightened level of insecurity right now about what’s going to happen tomorrow and that’s causing a lot of people who wouldn’t normally turn to the food bank to come.”
It’s not clear when federal workers will get their first paycheck; many predict it could be a week or more.
In the meantime they’re still struggling.
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers union spokesperson Lee Stone pointed out that “People probably won’t get a paycheck until Friday of the upcoming week. The fact is you can’t feed your children today with money you get next Friday.”
And since President Trump has only agreed to a deal that keeps the government open for the next three weeks, many federal workers fear yet another shutdown may coming soon.
“I’m positive that we’re going to be back here in another three weeks,” Shore said. “I’ve lost faith.”
The Second Harvest food bank says they plan to hold more such events in the coming days and weeks. They’ll focus on federal contract employees who won’t receive back pay.