More than 2,000 government employees are running low on food after being stranded in the Grand Canyon National Park due to the government shutdown. An Arizona food bank already delivered 600 boxes of food this week, and plans to do so again on Friday, but concerns are mounting as to how much longer they can provide the deliveries if the shutdown continues.
“We’re having to tell them we don’t know how long this thing will last,” said the vice president for the company that runs a resort in the park where many of the employees work. He said the company was “trying to help them as much as we can,” but the shutdown has impacted their resources as well. The resort is reportedly losing $250,000 per day, and was not supposed to close for another two weeks. Many of the employees live on the premises, and the resort has already waived its lodging fee in an effort to help workers.
A pastor of a church inside the park reached out to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix for help last week. On Tuesday, the food bank dropped off food in a nearby town dependent on Grand Canyon tourism before driving into a spot in the park to distribute more food. It will continue to provide donations as long as the shutdown continues and is accepting donations.
“[The shutdown] had a devastating impact up there right away,” said a spokesperson for the bank. Other local residents have offered services to furloughed employees.
Last week, Arizona governor Jan Brewer requested that the federal government allow the state to reopen the park and offered to use state funds, but her request was denied by the National Park Service.