NORTH CANTON, Ohio — Usually the MAPS Air Museum in North Canton salutes the history of military aviation by giving tours of treasured aircraft. But, Saturday afternoon, its hangar was turned into a special place for furloughed federal workers from the Akron Canton Airport.
The museum offered their space to open a temporary food pantry for those workers.
“They’re in a bad situation right now. One of the things I learned as a military officer is you take care of your team. You take care of your friends. You take care of the people that are working for you,” said Reed Kimball, who works at the MAPS Air Museum.
Bulk boxes of vegetables, macaroni and cheese, rice, peanut butter, noodles and other food was donated to help the workers who haven’t gotten paid during the partial government shutdown that started in December.
$20,000 worth of food was donated by a Massillon businessman and others from the Akron/Canton area. All of the food will help workers supply their families with groceries.
“It’s been really rough. We’re trying to make ends meet. We have car payments and car repairs and we have to make sure we have enough for dinners,” said Becky Fickert, whose husband is a TSA worker at Akron Canton Airport.
George Prichard is a TSA worker who said he’s very grateful for the help.
“With food like this, since we don’t have money coming in, I can use that money for other things like bills, gas and stuff like that,” Prichard said.
Danielle Clayton and her husband, Scott, are both TSA workers at the airport. They’re taking a double hit because they’re both working without getting paid.
Danielle said she’s moved by the outpouring of support.
“Oh a lot. This community and people at the airport everyone has reached out to us and it’s amazing it really is,” Clayton said.
Workers are relieved over the three-week break from the shutdown, but concerned it could happen again.
“We’ll work for a few weeks and hopefully get another paycheck and hopefully they’ll settle it by then,” Prichard said.
At least on this day there’s help and hope thanks to neighbors helping neighbors in Northeast Ohio.
“Thank you. It’s a blessing. We all appreciate it,” Clayton said.
The food supplies helped 115 federal workers at the Akron-Canton Airport including TSA workers, air traffic controllers and border customs officers.