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How to Help During the Government Shutdown

Photograph by Getty Images

As the government shutdown extends past a few days, and both military and other government employees have been feeling a little extra pinch in their bank accounts, we are all wondering, “What is going to happen to us?”

RELATED: Explaining the Shutdown to Kids

If the panda cam shutdown is the extent of the effect you feel, consider yourself lucky. For those of us facing a loss of income, there are plenty of specials happening in D.C. and other major hubs of government and for military employees. But what are you supposed to do with those looming mortgage/car/credit card/loan payments and medical bills?

Many banks and credit unions have already stepped up and said that families will be able to take out short-term loans and have a few financial benefits available, depending on the institution. And there are a few clinical trial centers available, and many are waiting for the government institutions to reopen.

Donate formula and baby supplies to a food pantry, church or family.

There are at least four families who have made the ultimate sacrifice and have not been provided the traditional benefits that help provide for travel and funeral costs. It isn’t just government employees that are suffering; there are plenty of private sector companies and staff that are facing temporary (increasingly permanent) leave while the funding for their positions, place of work and job descriptions are on hold. There are charities that rely on big chunks of government funding that are unable to perform much-needed community enrichment. WIC, an extremely important program for many of our lower-income citizens—including many lower-enlisted military—is suspended throughout the shutdown in most areas.

So what can you do? If you are in a position to contribute financially or in other ways, consider reaching out to your local communities. Support the organizations that are working to alleviate the financial or emotional stresses that Americans are experiencing because of this shutdown.

  • Fisher House, a private charity that offers housing for families of wounded soldiers, has stepped up and will be paying the death gratuity for the families who have lost loved ones. Your donation will help in their efforts.
  • Volunteer and support hospitals and treatment centers are waiting to send patients to specialized clinical trials.
  • Know someone who is directly affected by the shutdown? Pay a utility bill; share a coupon stash; pass down Halloween costumes; offer to carpool kids to school or activities; donate supplies, money or time to local students who may be in need; and donate formula and baby supplies to a food pantry, church or family.

RELATED: How a Military Family Budgets

There are plenty of ways to provide support. Just look at your community and step in where you are able.

Is the government shutdown hurting your family?

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