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TSA Workers At MSP Airport Support Each Other With Makeshift Food Bank

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Lawmakers are on track to miss a crucial deadline after negotiations to end the government shutdown have failed.

Wednesday marks 32 days of the shutdown. The midnight deadline means 800,000 federal employees will miss their second paycheck. President Donald Trump signed a bill to provide back pay when the shutdown ends.

When it comes to immediate needs, the promise of repayment doesn't help families who are living paycheck to paycheck. Work is being done to help some federal employees during this time of need.

Behind the closed Checkpoint 2 at MSP Airport's Terminal 2, TSA workers found a way to help each other.

"This is our little repurposed food pantry. This is all supplied by TSA employees who have brought it in to help those who are facing challenges during this shutdown," said Cliff Van Leuven, TSA Minnesota's federal security director.

They began stocking it with items to support their own a week into the government shutdown.

tsa food bank
(credit: CBS)

"This is the overflow room. These are basically your personal hygiene items, everything from vegetables to toilet paper to cat food," Van Leuven said.

It comes at a time when MSP had the worst security wait times in the country. Monday passengers waited 46 minutes at peak times. TSA was down officers before the shutdown. The shutdown is hitting those working without pay.

"People are gutting it out and coming in. We have a lot of single parents working here, we have a lot dual income people are working here and they have kids. It's hard, but people are dedicated. They believe in the job, they believe in security," said TSA screener Neal Gosman.

TSA officers say they appreciate all of the thank you's and travelers that have tried to help.

"[I hear it] every day, every day," Gosman said.

It's too cumbersome for passengers to bring food to help TSA employees because it would all have to be screened, but you can still offer support. TSA workers can't accept cash, but can accept gift cards for goods like gas and grocery cards up to $20.

"Then what we do is we log them all in, we track them and we distribute them to our officers in need," Van Leuven said. "The public's generosity has just been incredible."

He said another way to help is to donate to your local food shelf, as he said that would help other federal employees working without pay who are getting less attention.

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