As the current government shutdown continues, federal workers who are either furloughed or working without pay are struggling. Many people are looking for temporary work, relocating to live with family, and trying to maintain their homes and favorable credit scores. Those who rely on government services which have been halted during the closure, such as farmers who cannot access services from the Farm Service Association, are anxiously awaiting a return to business as usual. Nonprofits that provide valuable services to both federal employees and their neighbors are also affected when they can neither apply for nor receive the grant funding that keeps their doors open.
Local nonprofits are supporting these furloughed workers and their families where they can. For example, Shenandoah National Park Trust is collecting food for affected employees while assuming other costs of keeping national parks open and functional. C-VILLE Weekly highlighted the multitude of other ways the Charlottesville community has come together to assist federal employees, including The Montpelier Foundation offering free tours to all federal workers.
Although nonprofits are always working to support their communities, this unplanned shortage of resources could have lasting effects on the area. For the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, a large increase in the number of local families newly seeking assistance is stretching capacity. If the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program doesn’t receive extended funding before the end of the month, the Food Bank will face an overwhelming demand from both those who have relied on them in the past and are turning to them for the first time.
Make your voice heard by reaching out to your representative about how the government shutdown affects your community. Or share the story of how your organization is stepping up during the shutdown and tag us on Facebook or Twitter.