ILM airport workers not getting paid during government shutdown to get free food from Nourish NC

Free food boxes available to airport workers

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - It is Day 34 of the partial federal government shutdown, and one nonprofit organization in Wilmington is helping feed people who continue to work in the airport without pay.

On Thursday, volunteers with Nourish NC packed 112 boxes containing 35 pounds of non-perishable foods, fresh produce, bread, and ground turkey. Those boxes will be delivered to Wilmington International Airport (ILM) on Friday for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Federal Aviation Administration employees, including air traffic control and the National Weather Service.

“We stay of out of politics, but I will say this, regardless of what side of the fence people are on, Nourish NC and I think this community feel obligated to take care of the people who have been affected by (the shutdown),” said Steve McCrossan, executive director of Nourish NC based in Wilmington.

Nourish NC is funded by donations from the community, and McCrossan said the nonprofit formulated a plan to pack and deliver food boxes immediately after the United Way reached out asking for help on Wednesday.

“Within about 15 minutes of that initial reach-out, we had a plan to feed 100 families within 24 hours,” said McCrossan. “We’re not just putting in old, dusty cans. This is a strategic menu with things that are dietitian-approved, and everything is meant to be hardy: soups, stews, whole wheat pastas, brown rice — hardy and nutritious.”

Fresh produce, including apples, bananas, oranges, green bell peppers, and potatoes, was delivered Thursday morning to Nourish NC. Each family will receive 15 to 20 pounds of this produce.

"A lot of us learned this during the hurricane that this community has a lot of great people who want to help, and that's continuing now with this shutdown," said McCrossan.

The Friday morning ILM delivery will occur in a drive-through format, said Airport Director Julie Wilsey.

“ILM is proud to serve an extremely caring community, and the United Way of the Cape Fear Area and Nourish NC are two great examples of how we help neighbors in need,” Wilsey said in a statement to WECT. “We also appreciate our Federal employees on campus who continue to work through the Federal shutdown. The food delivery may lessen the stress of missing another paycheck.”

If you are a federal worker in need of assistance, you can call the United Way Hotline at 211.

To volunteer or help with food relief, go to NourishNC.org.

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