The government shutdown is causing real stress for hundreds of thousands of individuals, and their families, who are directly affected by the loss of income. This three-part series features the individual, larger organized philanthropic , and corporate responses to support those most affected by the hard realities of the shutdown.
Individual Philanthropic Response to Government Shutdown – How You Can Help
- Donate to a food bank. Find your local food bank or food pantry here through the Feeding America nationwide network. Or donate funds to the DC-based food pantry, Bread for the City, or Capital Area Food Bank, where an estimated 362,000 federal employees live.
- Pick up trash at national parks whose rangers are furloughed. Or volunteer to help once the government reopens since the staff can’t coordinate volunteer efforts while furloughed.
- Consider making a gift to your favorite charity during the shutdown. Many nonprofits receive a significant portion of their fundraising revenue from CFC’s – the Combined Federal Campaign, which routes payroll deductions directly from federal employees to charities. With a loss of federal employee paychecks, the CFC isn’t getting its normal pass through funds. As CFC money tends to be a consistent and reliable source of donations for nonprofits, many organizations are experiencing budget uncertainties this month.
- Thank the approximately 400,000 “essential” employees that you encounter that are being required to work without pay (like TSA agents and National Zoo employees).
- Call your representatives and ask them to come back to the table to fund the government. Find your House representatives here and your Senate representatives here. To find other elected officials, including those at the state and local level, you can do so here.
- Also, consider asking your representatives to ensure that government contractors, who have historically been left out of back pay agreements, also receive back pay via Senate Bill 72. Read more about this here and learn why 2,500 contract employees are at risk of serious financial hardship in this Time article or NPR news piece.
- Individual ride share drivers are offering free rides.
- GoFundMe campaigns are popping up. But always be sure to research them before donating.
- Go out to eat, shop at your local store, and try to support small businesses which are all feeling the loss of business from a normally vibrant federal employee community that has cut spending to deal with the loss of pay.
Continue reading next week for our second part in the series, which features the organized philanthropic response to the government shutdown.
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