Local food bank helping furloughed federal workers

Posted at: 10/08/2013 5:38 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

As the government shutdown nears the end of its eighth day, more and more federal workers are feeling the effects.   

There's one aid organization in Albuquerque rising to the occasion, by feeding government employees and their families.

Food banks are experiencing a real troubled time right now as key food donations from the USDA have been suspended because of the shutdown.

But Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque is meeting the shutdown head on, and how they stock their shelves is a key ingredient.

"We're able to feed 40,000 hungry clients a week," said Sonya Warwick. "This is food we turn over every 35 days believe it or not."

A lot of folks might not believe their eyes in this northwest Albuquerque warehouse full of food.

It's all on its way somewhere.

"We are doing this today for Kirtland, but it's possible we could do this for other furloughed employees," said Warwick.

On Tuesday, a truckload of food is on its way to Kirtland Air Force Base.   

Warwick says 75 furloughed employees at the base will receive free food for their families. An entire truckload to boost New Mexicans struggling as the federal shutdown's effects begin to creep into the day to day lives of many.

"Many of whom are our own donors, who give us food for example, and give us funds," said Warwick.

Those funds and donations; Warwick says they are the reason Roadrunner is able to help anyone right now.

Many services like Roadrunner are running on empty. But through a stockpile of donations and a special program funneling surplus food donations into the food bank, Warwick says they're on standby for any furloughed employees who may need help.

"We're confident that we'll continue at least through the shutdown, but you never know," said Warwick.

All that food may look like a lot.

But Warwick says at 75 families a week, on top of what they give away now would clean them out in about a month if donations stopped.