ESCONDIDO, Calif. – With thousands of government employees furloughed by the government shutdown, a local woman has decided to do something to help them.
Escondido resident Patti Thompson has turned her living room into a food pantry donation center. People in the community are showing up with truckloads of food. After she heard that there was no end in sight for the government shutdown, she felt compelled to help federal workers who are going on a second pay cycle without a paycheck.
“Every family that comes in, I ship them out with a fridge of food, because they are literally telling me that they are out of food," Thompson said.
She posted to "Escondido Friends," an online community portal, asking for donations and was quickly overwhelmed with food, diapers household items and gas cards. Just as fast as the donations came in, families showed up in need.
“One woman was in tears, she was so grateful,” said Thompson. “A family of four, another with three children, one with one child, single parents -- each one said the same thing. Daycare, gas and they’re running out of food, or they already ran out of food and didn’t know how to put food on the table.”
It turns out though, collecting the food is easier than getting some of the unpaid government workers to accept the handouts. Men, in particular, have a hard time taking charity.
“I think they’re embarrassed. They’re used to supporting their families and they don’t want to ask for food," Thompson said.
Surprisingly, Thompson and those she has helped have gotten some negative comments and backlash online. Some people question the need.
“People are saying to them, 'Well, you're not really struggling’ or 'That’s not really happening.' It's interesting how many people have an opinion, but they’re not affected by it.”
Anyone wanting to contribute food and gas cards, Thompson is accepting donations at her home: 1400 Austin Way, Escondido, CA 92027 (760-580-4973).