Bridging the Paycheck Gap

  • TSA agent Mary Sulliban looks through a variety of food items provided by the Hawaii Food Basket Friday at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Marshall Akaumu, Hawaii Food Basket West Hawaii Operations Manager hands two bags of frozen chicken to TSA worker Mary Sulliban Friday at Elison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KEAHOLE — The Food Basket returned to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport Friday with an array of food for Transportation Security Administration agents and others affected by the recent federal government shutdown.

Although the government reopened last week, employees only received partial paychecks, leaving them with choices of paying past due bills or buying food.

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That is why the The Food Basket, Hawaii Island’s lone food bank, continued its Ohana Food Drop.

“Last food drop we had at the airport we gave out over 200 bags of food to the TSA workers including other federal employee’s that needed help, said Marshall Akamu, The Food Basket West Hawaii operations manager, who estimated Friday’s drop was about the same.

Canned goods and non-perishables were distributed along with bags of whole frozen chickens and hamburgers.

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Lisa Marie Akau, a national organizer for the American Federation of Government Employees TSA Hawaii, has been attending food drops like this around the state.

“The Food Basket on this island is amazing,” Akau said, noting that the union was able to provide $20 gift cards to their members on Hawaii Island since The Food Basket provided an abundant supply of food.

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