Urban Ministries opens pantry to furloughed federal workers

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- More Triangle groups are pitching in to help furloughed federal workers.

Urban Ministries of Wake County opened its pantry to unpaid government staffers Thursday.

Those employees can go get a week's worth of groceries for their families.

Others are pitching in their time while they are out of work.

"I think this is the longest I've not worked since the birth of my son, so it's been different," said Jodie Howard, whose son is 25.

Howard works in air quality for the Environmental Protection Agency and has been with the EPA for 10 years.

Nancy Perry, who is also volunteering her time while she's out of work, has been with the EPA for 20 years.

"It's been hard and I'm in a place where I'm blessed to be able to be sustainable for right now," Perry said.

Furloughed employees can go to Urban Ministries of Wake County from Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

"Urban Ministries was founded to serve people who are experiencing crisis," said Lisa Williams, director of crisis programs at Urban Ministries. "Being out of work unexpectedly is definitely a crisis and we're happy to assist those in need."

Howard said she was driving up Capital Boulevard when she went past Urban Ministries and stopped and asked if they had any volunteer opportunities.

"I wanted to do something to give back while we're furloughed," she said. "I'm a civil servant, I took an oath when I started working here, and I just want to get back to work. We do important work for the people by protecting their health."

Urban Ministries said part of its food supply comes from the federal government, and it was just delivered Thursday. They said it's funded through March so they expect it to continue to come.
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