Americans helping out government workers

Category:  Opinions
Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at 4:13 PM

As the government shutdown entered its second month, citizens across the country came together to help the workers whose jobs serve the U.S. Thousands of government workers had not been receiving a paycheck since the start of the shutdown, and 78 percent of workers live paycheck-to-paycheck, according to Quora. And oh yes, more than half of them were still required to go to work.

Simply put, most of these workers had a household to maintain and a family to feed.

Over the past couple years, it has been clear that there’s been division and animosity amongst the two separate political parties in the U.S., but this shutdown seems to have made people put their differences aside for the time being in order to help one another out as best possible. 

The outpour of support and sympathy for the workers was widespread and came from people of all different backgrounds and social statuses. Several celebrities, including Jon Bon Jovi, Stephen Colbert and Ellen DeGeneres, were funding or giving away free meals to the unpaid workers, as well as donating thousands upon thousands of dollars.

Farmers markets, restaurant owners and food banks have been giving away free or discounted food, as well, including the local businesses. More specifically, Philadelphia business owners lent their hand by donating to the TSA and air traffic controllers at the Philadelphia International Airport. They filled up a food pantry that can be accessed by any federal worker from any field of work, even if they aren’t specifically affiliated with the airport itself.

The amount of support was overwhelming, to say the least. Dan Schulman, the CEO of PayPal, set up a $25 million fund to help the federal workers in need. The fund, known as PayPal Credit, provides a $500 cash advance to any worker who applies, with no interest to be paid on these advances.

Of course, as of Jan. 25, the government is no longer in shutdown. President Donald Trump has declared that the government will be up and running again, but possibly only for three weeks, and will be subject to another shutdown if there is no proper funding for the border wall by Feb. 15. Those who have helped the payless federal workers during the 35-day shutdown are prepared to continue to do so if there happens to be another one next month. Trump has also declared that each federal worker will receive their pay back as soon as possible, but most people are still wary as to whether or not they will be compensated for their work during the time of the shutdown.

On Monday, Jan. 28, thousands upon thousands of federal workers returned to their jobs. Many workers, specifically IRS workers, are completely overwhelmed by the amount of makeup work. Due to the backup, many tax returns are likely to be weeks late this year, which is why tax attorneys are recommending citizens to file electronically to ensure their taxes will be processed in case of another shutdown occurring after Feb. 15.

Abby Martinson |

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