WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- A former TSA agent is lending a helping hand to federal workers affected by the government shutdown with a food drive.
Jen Hanson is collecting food, personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies for Iowa federal workers at her store, Smart Art, in Jordan Creek mall and at Brown Dog Bakery in Ankeny
She said she worked through a government shutdown before, but it was nothing like this.
“This obviously is the longest federal shutdown. And part of the issue is not knowing when they are going to get paid. There haven’t been any goal markers or things for the future to say, we’re working on it, we’re going to shut it down, you’re going to get paid, they don’t know when,” Hanson said.
Everything collected in the Food for Feds food drive will go into a small temporary pantry space in Des Moines International Airport which Hanson hopes will open by this Wednesday.
“The airport is going to allow room for all federal employees to have access to this food pantry during the airport hours. Obviously you need to be a federal worker and those things. But not just TSA is affected, FAA is affected, you’ve got air traffic control, you’ve got multiple different federal agencies in the area,” Hanson said.
Hanson said federal workers have to follow a lot of rules the community may not be aware of.
“The employees cannot accept cash. So if you’re going to the airport or different locations and just want to give the employees cash, they can’t accept that. That’s against the rules. So online I did start a fundraiser that you can give cash to that and we will buy household supplies, pantry items for the food bank there themselves that they can have access to,” Hanson said.
She is hoping other Iowa businesses will join in to either offer services or be a drop off location.
Hanson said two services that would be very helpful are free or reduced price haircuts and childcare.
“I’ve been working with some legislators across Iowa to figure out how to do food drives in their communities and businesses to also get involved as well and some other districts to say how can you give back to these employees who already give back to our community and now they need help,” Hanson said.
If you’d like to offer services or be a food item drop off location you can message Jen Hanson here.
If you’d like to donate monetarily, you can visit this link.