Eighteen days into the government shutdown, broke American workers have turned to online fundraiser platform, GoFundMe, to appeal for financial support from members of the public to help pay their bills.
As reported by Newsweek, from military veterans and Coast Guard members to small family business owners affected by the government shutdown, federal workers hope to raise thousands of dollars to support themselves and their families amid fears that the shutdown could go on for weeks, if not months.
“As you may know, we are in the middle of a government shutdown. How this personally affects me and my family is that while I am still required to go to work like normal, I am not currently receiving a paycheck,” one GoFundMe page appearing to have been set up by a federal worker in Malden, Massachusetts, reads.
“The last monies received was Dec 31st. And from then on I will not receive a paycheck for time worked until the government reopens,” the page, which has so far raised $456 of its $10,000 goal, explains.
“The president has already said he could go months or even a year under this shutdown. Until this shutdown ends, each day funds are getting more and more tight and will eventually run out and I will no longer be able to pay rent or pay utilities and buy food. Any amount you are willing to donate will be greatly appreciated.”
Last Friday, President Donald Trump, who triggered the shutdown on December 22 after Democrats refused to pass a spending bill that would give the U.S. leader $5.6bn in funding to build his border wall, warned that the shutdown could go on for “a long time,” even years, despite hundreds of thousands of federal workers currently being left without paychecks.
One page, claiming to be set up by an unpaid worker with the Transportation Security Administration said that “every day is more anxiety and more stress, especially when you are a federal worker on furlough.”
“Paycheck was very short last pay. Don’t even know when the next check will be coming. Rent is due. And other bills are due. Bills will not wait for the next paycheck if it comes in March,” the page, which has so far raised $40 of its $55,000 goal, states.
“No one knows when the government is going to be open again and I am forced to go to work for free. How is this ok?”
“My husband is a veteran and I am a stay at home mom to our 3 blessings! Not to mention he is a federal agent now. He still has to report to work like many others but no checks,” a mother in San Antonio, Texas, states on a GoFundMe page set up for her family. “His last one was short because that day was after they declared the shutdown,” she adds.
The mother, who says she and her husband have three small children, ages 7, 5 and 3, says that having to turn to crowd funding was “something we never intended to do and then this happened. And right during the holidays.
“We still don’t know when it’ll open up and things will get right and as the wife and mom, I can’t help but worry about how long will this take….” she states.
While a number of GoFundMes set up by federal workers appear to have raised hundreds of dollars within days, not all of the responses to their plights have been supportive, with some commenters asking whether workers plan to “give the donations back” once they do receive their arrears.
This week, the partial government shutdown became one of the top three longest government shutdowns in U.S. history, entering its 18th day on Tuesday. The longest shutdown, which happened in December 1995, lasted 21 days.
If a deal is not struck by the end of the week and continues into Saturday, the current closures will represent the longest government shutdown on record.
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