On Dec. 22, President Donald Trump initiated a government shutdown in a dispute over funding for border security. The shutdown was lifted on Jan. 25, but federal employees went without a paycheck for more than a month. This shutdown also impacted federal employees in Wyoming.
With no pay for the federal employees, many were left struggling to buy food. The various communities throughout the country came together to help support these employees by giving to local food pantries. Ken Coder, the general manager of food services for Sodexo at Laramie County Community College, is organizinga brunch for the federal employees to lift them up.
“We decided to do this brunch last week and then of course the shutdown has ended, so now this a ‘thank you’ brunch for those folks who went through this challenge,” Coder said.
The brunch will be on Sunday, Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the LCCC Dining Room, which is located in the College Community Center building directly south of the Clay Pathfinder building. Employees must have a federal ID present.
The thank-you brunch is free for federal employees, their spouses and children. The lunch staff is opening the dining hall an hour earlier for federal workers and their families. Students on meal plans are still able to come in for breakfast at the regularly scheduled time. .
According to Coder, his staff is expecting 25 to 40 employees. “We passed out fliers at a food pantry they had open for the federal employees. We also have a contact at the Bureau of Land Management Building here in Cheyenne, we’re trying to pass out fliers to them also,” Coder said.
Coder said he is hosting this event because of his own personal experiences and because he wants to give back to the community of Cheyenne. He said he moved here two years ago and felt “becoming a part of the community was very important. I had a community back east where I’m from. Then we settled here and felt the community was somewhat stronger here than back east. These federal employees are a part of our community and we are a community college. I felt that giving back to them is pretty important.”
The dining hall staff could still use volunteers to help clean up after the event ends. Coder said that Judy Hay, vice president of student services, is trying to organize student groups from the college to volunteer at the brunch. One group is coming in to provide a craft table for children of the families who come in. They are also looking for anyone who “could entertain the families, have a chat with them and let them know what kind of students we have at the college,” Coder said.