The partial closure of the US government has had many terrible consequences. Federal employees lose their wages, airports are experience the effects TSA workers working without pay, national parks to be thrown, and the country is somehow even more politically polarized that it was before.
However, some companies are stepping up their activities during the national crisis and are offering free meals, shopping, entertainment and money to workers on leave.
About 800,000 workers are suffering because of the closure of the government. The last pay check that federal employees received dates back to December 28 and, although some senators are paid, a lot of low-paid employees are not. Although the average federal worker earns $ 85,000 a year, according to the Washington PostAbout 110,000 civil servants work less than $ 50,000 a year.
With the closure coming into its fourth week, many workers are suffering the financial burden of losing paycheques. Thousands of workers have started flood of food banks Across the country. A Facebook group, Government stopover exchange, as reported for the first time by CNN, has more than 200 federal employees selling items such as purses, motorcycles and jewelry to pay rent and food. Federal workers have also put in place more than 1800 pages GoFundMe.
"Since I've been on leave, I've been a volunteer at the Capital Region's food bank and downtown central kitchen," said an Agriculture Department employee who needs more information. money for rent and student loans. GoFundMe Page. "I hate to sound like I'm begging, but it's [an] emergency."
In order to help, many companies offer offers, large or small, to help workers on leave while the government lets them hang. Some large companies, for example, give federal workers more time to pay their bills. Mobile phone companies such as AT & T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, for example, have all announced plans to remove late fees for workers affected by the closure and work with them on payment plans. . Banks like Chase, Citi, American Express and Capital One give similar offers as well.
AT @T Mobile we are here to help federal government employees who are directly affected by the closure. We know that it is important to keep your wireless service available. Therefore, customers who need help with flexible payment / transfer options should call 611 https://t.co/WfUVzyExUJ
– John Legere (@JohnLegere) January 6, 2019
Concerned about your Chase loan or credit card account because of the #to close? Call us at 888-356-0023 to find out how we can help.
– Chase (@Chase) January 10, 2019
Washington, DC, has the highest concentration of federal workers. On Wednesday, food giant Kraft Heinz opened a free ephemeral grocery store where federal employees are able to pick up items such as cheese, packaged dishes and noodles until Sunday. In return, the company asks workers to donate to a charity of their choice when they can.
"When closing the government, parents should not have to worry about the possibility of dinner on the table as they do not receive a paycheck," said Sergio Eleuterio, marketing manager of the company , Biz Newspapers.
Other companies offer creative ways to offer money. Airbnb has announced a new program, "One Night About Us", that would give an additional $ 110 to federal workers who are hosting a tenant of the Airbnb or Airbnb experience at their home for three nights.
"Nearly 1 in 20 US Airbnb guests work in the government and in the last two weeks, many people have told us that the extra income generated by sharing their homes has become even more important given closing the market, "said Christopher Nulty, director of Airbnb's US Public Affairs," I said. "Airbnb was founded in 2008 by two people who could not pay their rent and therefore opened their apartment to foreigners. While we do not believe that housing sharing is a long-term political solution to tackling economic inequality, we believe it can be an important option to help people pay bills and close the gap. We now know that more than ever, members of our community may need additional help. "
Some workers who create GoFundMe pages need extra money to host strangers and more time to pay their bills, but many say they need basic necessities like hot meals. And in the absence of government salaries, some private companies have taken over. & Pizza, a fast-food chain located in the state of Washington, has distributed more than 15,000 free pizzas since the closure, said the company CNBC. Some culinary writers from DC have created a website, PayItFurloughed, for people to donate $ 7.50 for beers to workers on leave, who can withdraw money from participating bars in the nation's capital; 1,626 beers have already been donated.
And it's not just limited to DC. In Chicago, a bar called Horse Thief Hollow offers a "special closure" where federal employees can get a free meal of up to $ 15 when they present their government identity card; according to Chicago Tribune, the place feeds about 20 federal employees a day. British Beer Company, which has 10 branches in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, is give free meals up to $ 50 to federal workers. In Memphis, Sean Gilliam, chef and owner of local restaurants, walks around distributing his Tuscan spinach chicken dishes to federal employees.
"It's only Americans helping Americans," Gilliam said. CNN. "When conditions are difficult, we can really take care of ourselves. This should be the heart. I wish that it be extended to Washington and Congress. But I will not wait for them. "
In New York, volunteers with Masbia, a network of soup kitchens in New York that also distributes food parcels on Thursday, distributed leaflets to TSA agents at John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, telling them that they could eat for free and make their shopping in Masbia.
"It takes time for someone who receives a regular salary to feel at peace with a charity," Alexander Rapaport, executive director of Masbia, e-mailed. "We wanted them to have the information to know who to turn to immediately."
Some small businesses also try to help employees on leave to spend time with free entertainment. In Phoenix, the YMCA of the Valley of the Sun offers licensed government staff members a free membership so that they can access the gym and the activities of the institution. In Tampa, the Florida Orchestra and Ruth Eckerd Hall give federal workers free access to concerts. The Boston Symphony Orchestra also offers free tickets, as well as movie theaters charleston, Charlottesville, and Brooklyn. kings, a bowling alley in Boston, allows workers to play for free.
Fiber Space, a yarn store in Alexandria, Virginia, even offers free knitting classes to fired federal workers. While this may help anyone's financial results, it has a value greater than the monetary one; a store associate said Inc. that people would show up at the store "to relax and unwind" and spend the time they "would otherwise spend cleaning their closets, obsessed with the moment when they will get their next paycheck".