WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT -- Members of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP) administration are organizing a donation drive to help airport workers during the partial government shutdown.
The drive is meant to help about 100 TSA, FAA, and Customs and Border Protection workers at the airport.
TSA and air traffic control workers at the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton International Airport are working without pay due to the government shutdown.
"The last 27 days have been very stressful and you can see the morale starting to dip once we got the first paycheck for zero dollars for all the work we actually did," said air traffic controller Leonard Ameika.
The federal government has been shut down for nearly a month.
Airport leaders announced this donation drive as a way to help their employees during the shutdown.
"They've done a great job at our airport for many years. We certainly want to support them. This is just a small way we can help out our employees and their families which is so important," said Luzerne County Councilmember Tim McGinley.
There will be containers throughout the airport complex for the public to drop off donations of nonperishable food items and toiletries.
Ameika also serves as the local president of the National Air Traffic Controllers union. He says not knowing when your next pay check is coming is stressful.
"Then you hear the political rhetoric that this could go on for months or years. You can't plan. You don't know how to plan. How much of my savings do I take out? Do I have enough savings?"
He is thankful for the generosity from the community.
"It means a lot," Ameika said "You feel the community in this area. I was born and raised here, and you just see that people actually care. I don't know them. They don't know me. They didn't ask my political affiliation. They just said, 'We're here to help you if you need us,' and it definitely goes a long way."
The drive started Thursday morning. Items can be left in the bin marked "Team AVP Helping Team AVP," near the terminal main doors.
Acceptable donations include:
- Canned goods (soups, stew, chili, chicken, tuna, salmon, spam, vegetables, broths)
- Pasta sauce
- Fruit (canned or dried)
- Granola Bars
- Meals in a Box (Hamburger Helper, Mac & Cheese, etc.)
- Instant Mashed Potatoes
- Paper Products
- Peanut Butter
- Lunch Box Items
- Toiletry Items (Soap, Toothpaste, Shampoo, etc.)
- Diapers (Newborn through 4T)
- Baby Wipes
- Baby Formula
- Beverages (Soda, Water, Iced Tea, etc.)