Airports Collect Food for Unpaid TSA Workers

passengers in line at a TSA checkpoint in an airport
Passengers wait to be screened by TSA agents at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on Jan. 24. These federal employees aren't getting paid during the shutdown.


Let's face it. No one enjoys going through the security checkpoint at the airport. But, during the current government shutdown, waiting in the Transportation Security Administration or TSA line doesn't seem as much as a hardship when you realize the TSA workers screening you aren't getting paid. Your inconvenience is short-lived compared to the difficulty of trying to figure out how you're going to pay the bills.

Many airports are trying to relieve some of that stress by creating food donation drop-off points, giving anyone the opportunity to donate food and other necessities to the many federal workers who've been coming to work without pay for over a month now.

The push to help is springing up locally, which each airport offering its own drop-off point and hours, like this callout for help in Baltimore. At my local airport, Philadelphia International, donations are being accepted from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. They're asking for the following types of donations:

  • Nonperishable food
  • Dog food
  • Cat food
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Baby formula
  • Baby food
  • Gift cards to grocery stores
  • Gift cards to gas stations
  • Feminine products
  • Hygiene products

The pantry at the airport started on Jan. 22. By the end of the day, it was nearly cleared out, according to the airport's Facebook page.

I happen to be at the airport right now, waiting for a flight. I had to arrive at 5 a.m. so I didn't bring a donation, but I'll be coming back to the airport with a donation after I get home. I imagine that even once the shutdown ends, the financial hardships for TSA workers will continue for a while. Even if you aren't flying anytime soon, if you're near an airport, take a look at the airport website or Facebook page to see if you can drop off some food or necessities where you live.