6 ways you can help federal workers who aren’t getting paid during the government shutdown

  • The federal government shutdown has been going on since December 22 making it the longest government shutdown and funding lapse in history.
  • The shutdown has left approximately 800,000 federal employees without paychecks who are now struggling to make ends meet.
  • If you want to help, but don’t know where to get started, call your senators and representatives.
  • You can also donate to a food bank, donate online, or you can volunteer to help out in National Parks.

Federal workers who aren’t getting paid are struggling to make ends meet as the longest government shutdown in history drags on. There are approximately 800,000 government employees who have been affected and have been forced to try and make ends meet without getting paid.

If you want to help out, but don’t know how, here are some ways you can support furloughed federal employees until a spending bill is passed and the government starts back up again.


Donate to a food bank or food pantry.

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Federal workers left unpaid or furloughed by the extended partial government shutdown stand in line for fresh food and coffee at the World Central Kitchen in Washington.
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Reuters

Since the shutdown started, food banks across the country have seen an increase in demand from federal workers at a time when donations also tend to be quite low.

In Washington, DC, the Capital Area Food Bank is expecting a 10-20% increase, which could cost up to $300,000, The Washington Post reported. And in Utah, a food bank run by the Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah has seen a 50% increase, CNN reported.

Especially in a time when donations to food banks are at their lowest, you can support federal workers by donating to food banks and food pantries that are serving furloughed federal employees.


Donate to one of the 1,800 GoFundMe campaigns that have been set up for federal employees.

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As of January 16, CNBC reported that the GoFundMe campaigns had raised over $400,000 to help people affected by the government shutdown.
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European Parliament / Flickr

About 1,800 GoFundMe campaigns have been set up since the government shutdown to help struggling federal employees and have raised more than $400,000 in total, CNBC reported.

A spokesperson told the outlet that GoFundMe has been verifying campaign organizers to make sure money is going to people actually affected by the shutdown.


Call your senators and representatives.

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As a US citizen, it is your right to contact your elected officials.
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iStock

Part of being a citizen in the United States is having the right to contact your elected officials about grievances you have concerning the government and how it’s being run. It’s really easy, all you have to do is find your representatives and senators and give them a call, telling them you’re a constituent, you support federal employees, and you want the shutdown to end.


Support your local branch of the American Federation for Government Employees Union (AFGE).

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TSA agents, who are represented by AFGE, screen passengers at a security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport amid the partial federal government shutdown, in Atlanta.
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Reuters

The AFGE is the largest union for federal employees and represents 700,000 workers across the country, according to their website.

One woman in Florida posted on Facebook asking for people to donate gift cards that she could take to her local chapter. CNN reported she collected more than $4,000 in cards for grocery and gas, mostly.


Support businesses and organizations who are helping furloughed federal employees.

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Many federal government employees are looking for second jobs as Uber drivers.
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Thomson Reuters

There are numerous businesses and organizations supporting federal employees in a variety of ways. XY Planning Network, a financial planning organization, will be offering free emergency advice to federal employees.

Verizon is letting federal employees set up plans to catch up on late payments down the road and Chase bank said it will waive or refund overdraft and monthly service fees, NBC News reported. 1st Oklahoma Bank is even treating the missing paychecks as if the money had been sent anyway so that federal employees can pay bills and buy groceries.

Uber and Lyft are hiring furloughed federal workers and Airbnb has just announced a new program offering an extra night of income to federal employees who host an Airbnb user for three nights between December 18 and March 18, The Hill reported.

World Central Kitchen, the nonprofit founded by Chef Jose Andres, has been giving meals to furloughed federal employees as part of his #ChefsforFeds effort. Other restaurants in Washington, DC, such as Z-Burger, are also giving out free meals, NBC News reported.


Volunteer or donate to National Parks.

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Hikers walk up the main road, which is closed because of the partial government shutdown, in Arches National Park, Utah.
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George Frey /Reuters

Even the national parks have been negatively impacted by the government shutdown, which is why the nonprofit branch of the organization, the National Park Foundation, has launched a fundraiser to help clean up and fix any damage that has been done to national parks during the shutdown.

You can also sign up to volunteer once the government is up and running again, when park rangers will need extra hands to clean up and make repairs.

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