Furloughed federal workers protest outside the U.S. Capitol to demand an end to the government shutdown on Oct. 4. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
As the government shutdown drags through its third week, the United Way serving the nation's capital has begun to hand out emergency assistance to groups that feed and house the needy.
United Way of the National Capital Area said local non-profits are getting hit hard by increased demand from furloughed workers, many of whom got their last, partial paychecks Friday.
At the same time, many of those organizations are reliant on government money that has been frozen in the shutdown. Adding to the pain, the United Way's Combined Federal Campaign has halted -- and that campaign funds many United Way organizations.
"We know the impact on thousands of families in our community is tremendous," said Rosie Allen-Herring, president and CEO, United Way National Capital Area.
"By first providing additional food resources, we know we will be filling a critical basic need and quickly, and as the fund contributions increase, we will expand efforts beyond food assistance to include funding agencies that provide short term financial assistance with rent/mortgage payments and overdue utility bills."
United Way NCA provided the first $100,000 in the fund and asked corporate partners to assist. Capital One has already given another $100,000.
That initial money will go to four agencies: Capital Area Food Bank, SHARE Food Network, Meals on Wheels and Martha’s Table.
"We are grateful for the many furloughed workers who are putting in extra hours volunteering and want to show our support to those who need us," said Patty Stonesifer, president of Martha’s Table.