Federal workers set to miss another paycheck, seek aid amid shutdown

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HUNTINGTON STATION -

About 800,000 federal workers are set to miss a second paycheck amid the government shutdown, and many of them are struggling to get food on the table.

Thursday marked Day 34 of the shutdown.

Many federal employees on Long Island have been seeking food assistance at Long Island Cares in Huntington Station.

"We've seen 121 federal employees come through our doors at our three satellites just in the last 34 days," says CEO Paule Pachter. "In the last four days, that number has increased by 40 percent. These are people who are coming for emergency food, personal care products, household supplies, pet food." They also get gift cards to help pay bills or make other purchases.

Pachter says there's also been an increase in donations, including nearly two tons of food and more than $35,000 since the shutdown began. He says there's no shame in seeking aid when it's needed.

"We know you're struggling," Pachter says. "This is what we do every single day."

To meet the increased need, volunteers braved the rain Thursday to deliver four cars full of groceries from state Sen. Jim Gaughran's office.

Randy Brown, of Bay Shore, is among those who will be missing out on another paycheck, even though he still reports to his job with the Federal Aviation Administration. For now, the Air Force veteran and father of two says he's getting by on his savings. But he says that money won't last much longer.

"I have to feed my family," he says. "And if the government I work for isn't going to provide that, I'm going to find a way."

There are about 15,000 federal workers on Long Island.

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