Santa Barbara County Foodbank gave out more than 1,700 pounds of food last weekend to families affected by the federal shutdown. More than 50 families showed up on Friday to pick up groceries at the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria locations. Now, Foodbank is adding a third location at the Lompoc First Methodist Church. As word about the event has spread, Foodbank is expecting three times as many families as last weekend. “We’re expecting 60 families at each location,” said Foodbank Marketing Manager Judith Smith-Meyer about the event planned for this Wednesday.
Foodbank was moved to action after Santa Maria Airport TSA (Transportation Security Administration) employees reached out in anticipation of their first missed paycheck. “Anytime members of Santa Barbara County are facing hunger, that’s our job to get involved,” said Smith-Meyer. Foodbank will be distributing food Wednesday and Friday at its warehouses in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, and at the First Methodist Church in Lompoc 1-2:30 p.m.
One organization helping to connect families affected by the shutdown to community services is 2-1-1. The phone number is a health and human service line working to pair individuals with resources. Service is available around the clock, and Program Manager Elisa Pardo encouraged anyone affected to call to speak with a 2-1-1 operator. While there are services such as Foodbank that are filling immediate needs, 2-1-1 can also help families get connected to counseling services, after-school activities for kids, and more, said Pardo. For a list of resources available, call 2-1-1 or visit 211santabarbaracounty.org/government-shutdown. Confidentiality is guaranteed.
Roughly a dozen people, including prison guards in Lompoc and Coast Guard employees, have written to Congressmember Salud Carbajal to detail the impact the shutdown is having on them and their family. The government has affected many more families across the district, some of whom are not federal employees. Robert Miklik, a U.S. Navy veteran and commercial airline pilot, had his certificate up for review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prior to the shutdown. Because of the shutdown, the FAA is not issuing or reviewing licensing and certifications. “We are not federal employees, but we, like many other families are feeling the backlash of this shutdown,” wrote his wife, Joyce Miklik.