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Severn church feeds furloughed families in fourth week of partial federal government shutdown

Lauren Lumpkin
Contact Reporterllumpkin@capgaznews.com

Marilyn Brown lugged four, heavy plastic tote bags filled with pantry essentials: pasta sauce, syrupy fruit cups, microwavable macaroni and cheese, and canned chili, to name a few.

“It’s had a terrible impact,” Brown said about the partial government shutdown, now in its 30th day.

Her husband works at The Pentagon. He’s been furloughed since December.

Strapped for cash, Brown did her grocery shopping at Calvary Chapel International Worship Center in Severn. The congregation organized about $7,000 worth of food to give to families affected by the partial shutdown that’s left 90,000 Marylanders without jobs, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Sunday’s event was the brainchild of Mary Kronner who, along with her husband Richard, organize food banks every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. They feed between 100 and 200 families each week.

The Kronners said they wanted to duplicate the success of the Tuesday night food banks, but on a larger scale.

Sean Murphy, the church’s senior pastor, said he gave Mary his blessing to organize the thousands-dollar event.

“We have so many people in this area who are hurting,” Murphy said. “We were wondering what we could do as a church.”

The church’s solution came in the form of peanut butter and jelly, boxed spaghetti, frozen meat and pudding cups.

The event attracted congregation members, as well as county residents in need of help.

A treasury employee, who asked to remain anonymous due to concerns related to her job, was among them.

She packed her Jeep with food. She said she was paid on Jan. 14, but doesn’t know when she’ll see her next paycheck.

“I just want to get back to work,” the Glen Burnie resident said. “I have a lot of bills coming. I don’t know what’s going to happen after this month or the next two months.”

Her next check is due in one week. If the government doesn’t reopen soon, the treasury employee will have to start tapping into her savings, she said.

“I can’t spend money on anything,” she said.

Twenty-four adults and 19 children came to collect food Sunday, Richard said. Heaps of packaged food remained untouched by the time congregation members started cleaning up.

Murphy admitted turnout fell short of expectations, so the congregation will host another food bank for furloughed government workers and their families on Jan. 27 after the church’s 10 a.m. service.

People interested in receiving food should bring a work ID, work badge or paystub.

Brown set her bags on the ground and waited for her grandsons to load the groceries into her car. She pointed to her fractured foot and said she’s supposed to stay off of it.

After the partial shutdown started Brown said she found a job working in the kitchen of a nursing facility “to help make ends meet.When will it end? When can we get our lives back,” she asked.

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