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Public, private sector organizations step up for federal employees in P.R.

A number of public and private sector organizations are stepping up for furloughed federal employees in Puerto Rico.

There are an estimated 14,000 federal
employees in Puerto Rico, of which an estimated 4,500 are affected by the
government shutdown that began last month, the Puerto Rico Office for the
Socio-economic and Community Development said.

The ODSEC, as the agency is
known, announced it will distribute 4,500 bags of groceries and other items on
Monday, Jan. 28 at an event taking place at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, starting
at 1 p.m.

The activity is an alliance among
ODSEC, the private sector, nonprofits, the Puerto Rico Chamber of Food
Marketing, Industry and Distribution (known as MIDA by its Spanish acronym),
the Food Bank and the government of Puerto Rico.

Those interested in receiving
the aid must show a current identification confirming their employment with the
federal government or a check stub of the last three months from the agency or
office to which they belong. Participants may also apply for payment
moratoriums for electricity and water bills from the Puerto Rico Electric Power
Authority and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority.

Meanwhile, private companies
are also offering their support with free meals and groceries.

Supermercados Econo announced
it will be supporting federal employees who work at three Puerto Rico airports,
by distributing 500 gift cards worth $50 each.

“At Supermercados Econo,
we recognize the commitment shown by all those federal employees who continue
to fulfill their responsibility during the government shutdown, even though
they are not generating the necessary support to meet the needs of their
families,” said Eduardo Marxuach, Econo president, saying the gift cards
are good for food and supplies purchased at any of its 63 stores throughout the
island.

Gift cards were allocated to
employees of the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Aviation
Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the Luis Muñoz Marín
International Airport, and at regional airports in Ponce and Aguadilla.

Meanwhile, restaurant chains
KFC and Pizza Hut announced they will be extending special meal offers to the
furloughed workers at designated times as long as the federal government
shutdown lasts. The scheduled times to pick up the free meals are from 11 a.m.
to 4 p.m., when employees with IDs will be able to eat at the restaurants.

“Part of Encantos Restaurant
Inc.’s mission is to eradicate hunger in Puerto Rico. And given this prolonged
closure of the federal government, we have decided to extend the benefits of
our programs related to this cause to the thousands of federal employees who
have spent more than a month without receiving their livelihood,” said
Humberto Rovira, president of Encantos Restaurants, the franchisee of KFC and
Pizza Hut restaurants in Puerto Rico.

Nonprofit World Central Kitchen
announced the opening of a dining room for federal employees and their families
to receive free food at no cost, as part of the #ChefsForFeds initiative.

The Yolanda Guerrero Cultural Center in Guaynabo will serve as the #ChefsforFeds Dining Room from Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and
Saturdays and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to
3 p.m.

Among the local companies that
have joined this initiative are Caribbean
Produce Exchange, which is providing fresh local products for meal
prepping, Supermax, Industria Lechera de Puerto Rico, known as Indulac, and Tres Monjitas for the provision of
dairy products, and other ingredients.

Chefs and volunteers are
contributing their time for the preparation and distribution of food at the
center and for delivery on routes established by federal agencies.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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