Emergency food bank set up for workers at federal prison in Mendota

When you've been a month without pay, it's hard to turn down free food. And the Central California Food Bank took a truckload to help feed correctional officers and their families.

The Federal Prison in Mendota houses about a thousand inmates, and more than 300 correctional officers and staff. Like nearly a million federal workers nationwide going without pay for a month now, the employees need help.

The Central California food bank is responding with groceries.

"We are providing 200 meal boxes to families in need. Federal employees are now missing their second paycheck," said Kym Dildine of the Central California Food Bank.

The boxes were put together in Fresno and handed out in the prison parking lot. Federal regulations prevented us from filming on prison property, but there were plenty of takers for the food.

"Today they are getting cereal, milk, pasta and sauce. Theres a wide array of fresh produce, vegetables, canned goods... about a week's worth of food," said Dildine.

Correctional Officer and union representative Aaron McGlothlin said the staff is grateful for the help.

"The biggest thing is we are going to be missing our second paycheck right now and that's pretty tough, because a lot of folks, including myself, live pay check to paycheck. And you know, groceries and feeding your family are the number one thing. So it's really important right now to you, know, provide the basic necessities for our families," said McGlothlin.

Mcgothlin said personnel in Mendota and the other federal prison in Atwater are deaing with the shutdown crisis but the longer it goes on the tougher it gets.

"It's a big hit not only to pride, but dignity. These staff, they work very hard to protect the local community and keep these offenders behind walls, and working so long without a paycheck is very struggling."

The food bank is gearing up to help all the federal workers, and anybody else needing help.

"If you need food go to our website, hit the food locator, put in your address and you can see where your closest emergency pantry is."

The food bank is planning a big distribution on Tuesday, aimed at helping some needy IRS workers in Fresno.

That will be held at the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on Belmont.
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