On December 22, 2019, the federal government began a partial shutdown as a failure to agree on a funding deal on immigration. This was just the beginning of what would be the longest shut down in U.S. history, lasting 35 days and leaving thousands of federal workers without pay. Affected was 52 year-old Arthur Treviño, a federal prison system employee who was forced to reach out to his local Food Bank for assistance.
“December 28th was the last time I got a check,” he said, “which is hard because I have a wife and a 6 year-old daughter who depend on me.” Paychecks earned by Treviño go towards the house payment, telephone, CPS, water and all other bills. The extra money earned by Treviño’s wife helps put food on the table and helps with their daughter’s dance class tuition, “I wouldn’t want to take that away from her with everything that is going on,” he said.
When his first paycheck was missed, Treviño grew worried on how long his savings would last forcing him and his wife to look at creditors for options during the shutdown. Treviño, like many federal employees caught up in the shutdown, was required to work without pay.
“I woke up at 3 am each day, got to work by 6 am and was home by 5:30 pm. There is no one who will do our job. We go to work each day at this time, not for the pay, because we are not getting that at this time. We are going to work for each other,” he says.
While watching the news one day, Arthur saw the San Antonio Food Bank and New Braunfels Food Bank were providing Care Packages to furloughed workers at their facilities. “I came in to get information for me and to take back to the prison for my co-workers,” he said, “and I left here with food, fresh fruit and vegetables and personal necessities for my family.”
San Antonio Food Bank President & CEO Eric Cooper estimates that there are about 27,000 federal employees in San Antonio, and that the Food Bank served 10 percent of them.” If the government hadn’t re-opened, he added, “The impact could have been catastrophic.”
Treviño and his family are thankful for the assistance of food and information he received during the partial government shutdown. The deadlock eventually ended on 25 January 2019, when both chambers of the federal government approved a plan to reopen the US government for 3 weeks, “it may be over now, but I worry about what will happen after the three weeks are over,” he said.
The San Antonio Food Bank offers a variety of programs from food assistance, benefits assistance, and programs for children, seniors and pets. Our mission is to fight hunger and feed hope through food distribution, programs, education, and advocacy.