Food pantry helps Detroit TSA agents caught up in govt shutdown

Image 1 of 4

Some much needed relief came for federal workers at Detroit Metro and Willow Run airports, who are working without pay right now. 

The restaurants at Detroit Metro Airport are now supplying lunch for TSA agents event day, and a mobile food pantry has also been set up. 

The shutdown has taken a toll on dozens of families, like TSA agent Tonya McCoy's. She has a 12- and a 16-year-old at home. She nearly fought back tears as she talked to us about the struggle her family's going through right now. 

"You've got to pay bills; you've got to take care of your house," she said. "Getting back and forth to work and you got to pay for parking."

"I had to choose for my son to stay home from school today," said Jennifer Dziendziel, a fellow TSA agent. "He's 17, but he has an almost three mile walk to school and it was too cold and I couldn't pay the person that normally would pick him up so I had to tell him just to stay home."

Money is tight as the TSA workers face another payless payday. Dziendziel and her husband both work for the TSA.

"We have no income coming in right now. None," she said. Which is why she and so many others are so grateful the restaurants at the airport are supplying lunch for them every day, and have now setting up the mobile food pantry.

"Chips and fresh fruit they're serving us, and drinks for the kid to take in their lunches. That's awesome," said McCoy.

"They're our safety net at the airport every day and we wanted to be their safety net today," said Tanya Allen from Paradies Lagardere Dining. They've partnered with Delta and Forgotten Harvest for the food drive, with more planned as needed.

"There's 584,000 people in metro Detroit that suffer from food insecurity on a daily basis," said Christopher Ivey with Forgotten Harvest. "So these people are probably new to the situation, so for them it's very scary and it's very new."

And it's very unclear just how much longer this could go on.

"I want to see some kind of compromise," said Kirk Riffenburg with TSA. "I want to see something get solved. Both of them need to get together and work this out.

"It's real tough because you have to make that decision like, should I hang in here? Should I give up? Should I keep going?" McCoy said.

"This weekend coming up when we miss our second pay will be the deal breaker for a lot of people," said Dziendziel.