Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 11 Government Shutdown - 60,000 Pounds of Food Brought to the Grand Canyon

At noon today, Oct 11, 2013, the Eleventh day of the Government Shutdown, St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance out of Phoenix, AZ delivered 60,000 pounds of food to the residents of Grand Canyon National Park. Because of the Government Shutdown, almost 98 percent of the community is unemployed. 

What people have asked me to tell you is that they want to work. Many of the employees here at the Grand Canyon have been here for decades. This is their home. Many of these same employees live paycheck to paycheck, earning just above Arizona's minimum wage of $7.80 an hour. They have no transportation to leave the Grand Canyon, and no money for gas if they did. They just want to work. 

What people have asked me to tell you is that they will survive, but it is hard. Many people live in dorms, and have no access to a kitchen. Winter is on its way, and there is no money for heat. Many people have children. Grand Canyon is the only National Park that has a preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school. Three hundred twenty-eight students in all.

What people have asked me to tell you is that they are a community, and though they are helping one another, they are suffering. Some talked of depression. Drinking. Staying in bed all day. They don't know what to do. Where to go. How to get there.

"We want to go back to work," they said. "We just want to work."

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