Feeding America Southwest Virginia donates 400 boxes of food to USP Lee employees during shutdown


While President Donald Trump announced a deal to re-open the government, it didn’t come soon enough for federal workers to receive a paycheck by Friday.

For more than 300 works at USP Lee, the federal prison in Pennington Gap, Virginia, Friday marks the second payday they have missed due to the government shutdown.

Pamela Irvine, president, and CEO of Feeding America Southwest Virginia, said that’s why they decided to distribute boxes of food for the employees.

“There are 362 employees that continue to work here and they haven’t had a paycheck for some time now,” Irvine said.

Organizers with Feeding America Southwest Virginia brought 400 boxes of food for employees Friday.

Irvine said each box was packed with food to feed a family of four for a couple of days.

Brian Shoemaker, union president at USP Lee, said the shutdown had a huge impact on the staff, so they’re grateful for this kind of support from the community.

“Their power bills are due, their water bills are due, rent, mortgages, everything,” Shoemaker said.

For correction officers at USP Lee, not showing up for work was never an option during the shutdown.

“Well someone has to be here, someone has to keep those guys behind the fence,” Shoemaker said. “The impact on the staff – not getting paid, but still having to come up with gas money to get to work, still have to feed your kids. We’ve got numerous couples that work here so this is their only source of income.”

Shoemaker said many of the local banks have been helping out as well during the shutdown by allowing for grace periods when it comes to payments.

As of Friday, federal works are still unsure when they can expect to receive their paychecks back.

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