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Thursday, January 24, 2019

3 Ways to Help Federal Workers Today


More than 800,000 federal employees are not able to work or being asked to work without pay as the partial government shutdown, now the longest in American history, stretches on. Many of these employees and their families are struggling to put food on the table while they scrape together savings to pay their rents and other bills.

At Charity Navigator, we’ve heard from a number of donors asking how they can help their neighbors in need. Take a look at our suggestions for supporting your local charities as they provide much-needed assistance to individuals and families affected by the shutdown.


Support your local food bank.

Many federal workers affected by the ongoing partial government shutdown have reported concerns about affording their basic expenses, like rent and groceries, while they wait to receive their paychecks. Food banks across the country are stepping up to provide families in need with food and other household supplies.

Food banks often see a surge in donations, both cash and in-kind, around the holidays. This is typically enough to carry most organizations through to the spring. However, many food banks, particularly those serving large numbers of federal workers, are seeing an increased demand for their goods and services as the shutdown stretches on. 

Consider supporting the critical services your local food bank provides with a cash donation. Giving money rather than goods allows the organization to respond quickly to changing demands. And, food banks can often purchase food directly from distributors at discounted rates which means your dollars will go further in providing food and household supplies to your neighbors in need.

Donate to the United Way’s United for U.S. Fund.

Local United Way chapters are providing a spectrum of services, including financial counseling and emergency assistance with food, rent, and other basic needs, to federal workers, contractors, and others impacted by the shutdown. 

To support these efforts, the United Way (or United Way Worldwide) has set up the United for U.S. Fund. Gifts given to this fund are tax-deductible and will be used to continue funding these emergency assistance programs in communities across the country.

Give to a neighbor’s GoFundMe campaign.

The internet is a flurry with GoFundMe campaigns raising funds to help federal workers while they wait out the shutdown. Crowdfunding campaigns are a great way for friends and family to support a neighbor in need, but tales of fraud give many donors pause about where their donation will go and how it will be used.

Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself before you give:
Who is the campaign benefitting?
Confirm that the campaign is benefitting a person you know or feel comfortable supporting.
Do you trust them and how they will use the funds?
Take a look at how much the campaign aims to raise and what they are requesting support for. Does it seem reasonable to you?

It’s also important to note that gifts made to crowdfunding campaigns set up to benefit an individual and not hosted by a tax-exempt nonprofit organization are not tax-deductible.

Other ideas...

These are just three of the ways you can help individuals and families in your area that are affected by the shutdown.

Comment below to share how you’re helping your neighbors, or how you’ve seen individuals, organizations, or businesses in your community step up to help families in need.

Written by Ashley Post, Communications Manager at Charity Navigator.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

It seems worthwhile to contribute to United Way's U.S. Fund to help support Federal Workers who are being used badly by the TRUMP SHUTDOWN. Mavis H.

Ray Connell Sawyer, Ph.D. said...

I realize that United Way does a lot of good work, but some of their affiliates give to Planned Parenthood, which I cannot support. I am aware, however, that you must attempt to be objective in your ratings regardless of your personal views. Ray Sawyer, Ph.D.

Unknown said...

Neighborhood groups on the Nextdoor app also are a great way to find and help local families.