Kingwood senior community feeds air traffic controllers amid ongoing government shutdown
Thanks to the Arbor Terrace at Kingwood Town Center about 100 air traffic controllers are receiving a free meal every week until the government shutdown comes to an end.
Penelope Reider, Kingwood Arbor Terrace’s executive director, started this initiative last week to feed both William P. Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental Airport air traffic controllers.
Reider wanted to help out a friend, who is an air traffic controller, and her family while the shutdown is taking place.
“I saw some of the comments (on Facebook) that she was putting about not getting paid and how this is a real struggle,” Reider said.
Instead of stopping at just helping her friend and husband, who are both air traffic controllers, Reider decided to utilize the Arbor Terrace kitchen to make about 100 meals for all air traffic controllers who are not getting paid.
The first meal Arbor Terrace Kingwood gave out was pork with scalloped potatoes, mixed vegetables, salad and peach cobbler.
This week, the air traffic controllers are enjoying grilled chicken with a side of green beans and onions and wild rice. Dessert dishes include brownies, cookies and pumpkin pie.
The meals were made possible by the residence’s marketing department using their budget to purchase the food.
“What we did with my budget was that if we shave off things that marketing would typically do — and that’s trying to get people in the door — it’s worth it to be able to not do that so someone else can have a meal,” Stacy Arceneaux, Arbor Terrace Kingwood’s marketing director said.
Laura Vensel, an air traffic controller with the Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center, comes by every week to the senior community to distribute the food to her coworkers.
“It is a huge help to our community of controllers,” Vensel said. “Just having to take the stress off of having one less meal to worry about and this stuff that they’re giving us now, all the toiletries and everything is definitely helpful for the people who need it.”
Residents can also drop off donations for federal workers at Arbor Terrace-Kingwood located on 2807 Kings Crossing Dr. Canned good, toiletries and other necessities are accepted.
The senior community plans on giving out free meals to government employees until the shutdown ends.
“We’ll continue to do this every week until the shutdown is over because their needs don’t change; they’re still not getting a paycheck,” Reider said. “If we can give them the very basics that they need like toiletries and food, that’s the least we can do.”