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Federal workers seek relief at food bank

Federal worker Deby Harrow, visiting the Tulsa Community Food Bank. (Peterson/KTUL){p}{/p}
Federal worker Deby Harrow, visiting the Tulsa Community Food Bank. (Peterson/KTUL)

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She's never been to the food bank before, but then again federal employee Deby Harrow has never been through a shutdown like this one.

"I really did not think it would go past the 21 days," she said.

"We’re hoping it’ll end soon," said TSA worker Carolyn Mariani who was also there. The only two federal employees we met who felt comfortable enough to talk to the media, given that comfort isn't really in their vocabulary right now.

"I’m not totally dependent on TSA but I’m seeing my co-workers suffer all around me," said Mariani.

How much stress has this added to Harrow's life? "I was at urgent care yesterday. I was under so much stress, I thought my brains were going to blow out. I had such a migraine," she said.

Her last paycheck was Dec. 31, and the financial stress is only building with no end to the shutdown in sight.

What is she living off of right now? "Whatever I had in the bank. And let me tell you something, my Dad passed away on Thanksgiving day, if I had not had access to his checking account, I would have zero dollars. But I had just enough in there to pay this month’s rent. Next month, I’m done," said Harrow.

Both ladies declined to point fingers at one party or the other, but had plenty to say about this impasse as a whole.

"Nobody wants to sit down and speak, that’s the problem. One side will say no, the next side says no and they all disappear. They need a mediator in there, and they need someone to say, 'You’re not leaving from this room until you resolve this.' I could probably fly there and resolve this myself, this is awful," said Harrow.

"My message is; we are a republic of the people, by the people and for the people, and that’s what they should be thinking about, us," said Mariani.

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