MINNEAPOLIS – When employees with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) saw an opportunity to help local airport employees who were feeling the economic impact of reductions in air travel, they had no doubt what they needed to do.
Over the past several weeks, TSA employees have collected donations of non-perishable foods, baby supplies, personal hygiene products, gift cards and other items. Those items are now available for free to any member of the MSP airport community who has taken a financial hit during the downturn in air travel.
TSA has reported the number of people traveling by air nationally is down about 90% from the same time a year ago. As a result, MSP estimates that thousands of airport employees have been laid off or had their work hours reduced.
“TSA wanted to respond in a meaningful way to help our airport partners during these difficult financial times,” said TSA Supervisory Transportation Security Officer Carolyn Shrewsbury who spearheaded the effort. “When TSA officers worked without pay during the partial government shutdown in late 2018 and in early 2019, the airport community rallied around us and provided food and other goods during a time when we were working without pay. It is our honor and privilege to return the favor.”
Affectionately called the “Food Shelf,” any airport employee can stop by and pick up items they need for themselves and their family. The Food Shelf is located in MSP’s Terminal 1 in space provided by the Metropolitan Airports Commission which runs the airport. It is open seven days a week.
“While we will never know how many people in the airport community benefit from the availability of food and other items, we do know that the generosity and character of the TSA team at MSP is second to none,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Minnesota Cliff Van Leuven. “I am pleased that we are able to help our airport partners during a time when they need it the most.”
Over the past few weeks, more than 20 TSA employees have volunteered their time to establish the Food Shelf and they continue to maintain it outside of their regularly scheduled shifts.