A 27-day U.S. government shutdown, the longest on record, has sparked altruism in the hearts of community leaders.
Faith-based organizations and local businesses are offering financial aid to Leon County’s federal workers. There are around 1,800 federal workers in Leon County, 200 - 300 of which are directly impacted by the shutdown. Now, help is coming from a faith-based task force dubbed, the “Love Thy Neighbor” movement. It’s providing aid—from gas to grocery cards— to federal workers. Pastor Brant Copeland, says that the government is asking its workers to do the impossible.
“Requiring people to work without pay is at the very least exploitative and at its worst a form of involuntary servitude. While we may not be able to end the stalemate in Washington, we can reach out to our neighbors in need and whatever your religious tradition, surely we agree that this is the right thing to do,” says Pastor Copeland.
Task force leaders planned a special worship service for 3:30 pm Sunday afternoon for residents to drop off donations. However, federal workers will be receiving aid not just from their neighbors but from their city as well. Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey says that he will not shut down utilities for federal workers impacted by the U.S. government shutdown, if their payment were to lapse. He stood among organizers of the “Love They Neighbor” press conference held January 18.
“Call me in the mayor’s office and we are going to work with each individual and every family, because the last thing you need to worry about is your electricity and clean water. We are community partners. We are your city and we are there to help,” says Mayor Dailey.