Food pantry opening for furloughed federal workers

- For Thomas Mantz of Feeding Tampa Bay, keeping the community fed is top priority, even when that involves partial government shutdowns.

"At the end of the day, a government shutdown ends up being a crisis for a lot of our folks in the community, particularly in this instance, federal workers," Mantz said.

Starting Monday, Tampa International Airport is hosting a food bank to help its federal workers.

"Feeding Tampa Bay is making sure that those without paychecks have access to healthy food as long as necessary," Mantz said.

Gigglewaters, a restaurant that also serves as a movie theater in Safety Harbor, is offering perks to the furloughed.

"Anyone who's furloughed, or working and not getting a paycheck, just bring proof in with you,” said Owner Rachel Fine. “You can see a movie every single night until this government shutdown is over, and we'll throw in a draft beer. For us, this isn't political, this is about taking care of your community."

Fine says they made the decision after feeling helpless about the shutdown.

"To watch people in the Coast Guard and the TSA who are protecting us every day not get a paycheck, it's devastating,” Fine said. “We want to help in any way we can."

They, like the food pantry, will be helping federal workers until the shutdown comes to an end. 

The food pantry will be open noon to 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. starting Monday at the Airport Police Training Center, at 5020 N. West Shore Boulevard.

At Gigglewaters restaurant, you can find the show times for movies on their website. Every unsold seat is available to federal workers free of charge. 

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