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Food Drive On Long Island Helps Federal Employees Furloughed During Government Shutdown

HUNTINGTON BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Food, supplies and gift card drives to help furloughed workers trying to make it without a paycheck launched today on Long Island.

The humanitarian efforts were sponsored by multiple organizations.

Tyeisha Parris of Holtsville is a mother of two. She's also a furloughed Internal Revenue Service employee.

"We don't have any food. This is our first check that we are going to be missing today," Parris told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan.

Parris learned that donations are being collected for families like hers, and was able to load a cart with fruit, vegetables, canned goods and more at a satellite Long Island Cares pantry. It's part of an island-wide humanitarian effort.

"There's between 14,000 and 16,000 Long Islanders working for the federal government currently not working," said Paule Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares. "That includes TSA agents, IRS staff and staff members of the U.S. Coast Guard."

James Brazel is an FAA manager at New York Terminal Radar Approach Control in Westbury. His wife is surviving cancer and they have a child in college.

"Tough. I've been with the agency for 22 years, this is my first time without a paycheck, so it's really uncharted territory for us," he told McLogan.

"We will provide drop off points for food and personal care products in our offices," said NY State Assemblyman Charles Lavine.

Lawmakers have kicked off a good will initiative under the dramatic backdrop of Sagamore Hill, part of the National Park Service that is shuttered.

"Hopefully this will be a very short food drive, they'll get to work and reopen the government," said NY State Sen. Jim Gaughran.

The partial government shutdown affects one branch of the U.S. military: The Coast Guard, which normally operates under the Department of Homeland Security.

The Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs is now sponsoring a gift card drive for the military men and women working without pay.

"Commanders of the Coast Guard stationed both here and in Connecticut will assist to make sure the Coasties that need it the most get those gift cares or money to tide them over," said Jackie Martin of the Greater Huntington Boat Clubs.

Those gestures of kindness are going a long way.

To learn how to drop off food for the drive, click here. For more information about Long Island Cares, click here.

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