Since Dec. 22, I have paid my rent, utilities, filled up my car twice, bought groceries for myself and two roommates, bought many textbooks and paid some leftover tuition that my loan didn’t cover.
OPINION: If I were in the shoes of a federal employee that had not received a paycheck since mid-December, I would not have been able to pay for any of my necessary purchases – that’s a huge problem. Luckily, it’s a problem we can help fix.
In the midst of the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history, some individuals have taken it upon themselves to help out their furloughed neighbors. In New Jersey, one furloughed worker received packages of diapers, baby wipes and shampoo after he posted on Reddit about his family’s struggle to stay afloat after his wife gave birth to their second child six days after the shutdown began.
A little closer to home – Killen’s BBQ in Pearland participated in Furlough Friday – where the restaurant gave out free food to all government employees affected by the shutdown. Other Texas cities have found ways to give back to federal employees who have been temporarily laid off or forced to work without pay.
For the remainder of the shutdown, Abilene should join in and help out our government-employed neighbors by participating in Furlough Fridays.
With the many churches, nonprofits and restaurants in Abilene – there is certainly a way for all local federal employees to receive some form of help during the shutdown.
Restaurants like Vagabond could offer free pizza on Fridays for the workers. Meals on Wheels could partner with restaurants to deliver food. Churches could work together to raise money or start donation boxes for food or other items needed by each family.
The six colleges and universities in Abilene could also lend a hand. The Student Government Association could draft a bill that allocates funding to be used to buy food or other necessities for families affected by the shutdown.
We can work with one of the churches – like Hillcrest or University Church of Christ – to start donation boxes for the workers in need.
It’s unfortunate that the shutdown has gone on for so long without any signs of reopening.
We, as Christians, should take steps to help these workers in their time of need.