Community Supports Workers During Shutdown

Government workers of Humboldt and Del Norte benefit from food drives

On the same day President Donald Trump announced the end of the government shutdown, local support gathered at the Labor Temple in Eureka. From canned and boxed goods to basic hygiene products, the Humboldt & Del Norte Central Labor Council distributed essentials to anyone affected by the governmentshutdown.

Since Jan. 25, the majority of government workers have returned to work and reimbursed for their furlough. However, the possibility of another government shutdown remains, leaving many unknowns for the future.

According to Cooperation Humboldt, the event helped more than 200 families in the counties. Members of the Bureau of Land Management,Transportation Security Administration, National Weather Service,Federal Aviation Administration, and U.S. Forest Service and Coast Guard found support and relief at the food and resource drive.

The food drive was organized in a matter of weeks following the government shutdown as a result of donationsfrom local food markets and chains.

We will be here as long as our community members are impacted by this.” — David Cobb

“There’s a stigma around access to food and health access,” said David Cobb of Cooperation Humboldt. “For some people, this is the first time they have had to utilize public services.”

Cobb emphasized the importance of community support during national crises.

“What we have here is a small, tight-knit community,” said Cobb. “We are going to take care of ourselves at the local level. We will be here as long as our community members are impacted by this.”

Friends and coworkers at the U.S. Forest Service, Ashley Papavero and Maritza Guzman met up at the Labor Temple for the event on Jan. 25. Both
Papavero and Guzman said it was hard to sustain their basic monthly expenses without an income during the shutdown.

“Food and gas are the priorities,” Guzman said. “It’s been helpful having credit card and car payments waived.”

Guzman, who is a Humboldt State University alumna, said she was down to her final $20 of savings. Originally from Fresno, Guzman found a temporary position at a produce farm in Bayside to sustain her income until she could go back to work. Since the temporary lift on the shutdown on Jan. 25, Guzman and Papavero have returned to work. After missing two paychecks and more than a month of work, Papavero said it feels good to be back at work.

Since returning to work, Papavero has been reimbursed in backpay. While
she received a paycheck quickly, she says it is off-putting to prepare for the possibility of a shutdown again.

“It affects something about your sense of being, your self-esteem and outlook,” Papavero said. “It’s unnerving to not know what will happen.”

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