Hundreds of correctional officers, courthouse staff receive free groceries

Organizations step up to help federal workers during shutdown

By Saira Anwer - Reporter

MIAMI - Cereal, milk, fresh vegetables and pantry and freezer items are all heading to the homes of hundreds of federal prison and courthouse employees in downtown Miami who have not received paychecks since the government partially shut down last month. 

The Local 501 chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees partnered with Feeding South Florida to provide food supplies for staff at the Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons in downtown Miami. 

Correctional officers and courthouse staff have been working without a paycheck for more than a month now. 

Union President Khalil Abdel said correctional officers are really not people you want to go unfed.

"Without them being able to feed and concentrate on what they're doing, they might be able to get hurt with the prisoners and the people we have in our institutions," Abdel said. "They really don't need to be concentrating about their means and (there needs to be) more concentrating on what they have to do in the prison."

The food distribution will go on until 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, at a Subway restaurant in Miami International Airport, furlough frustration is softened by sandwiches and smiles. 

"We just want to do our part and we have an array of sandwiches, chips and sodas," Subway owner Brenda Rivers said. 

The MIA location has given away nearly 2,000 sandwiches to federal workers in three days. 

"They tell us some of the hardship stories," Rivers said. "I mean, they have a time to talk with us and then we listen and we're saying, 'We wish we could do more.'" 

Click here to donate to Feeding South Florida or to learn about volunteer opportunities. 

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