Helping Hand: North Texas Companies, Organizations, Churches Ease Burden for Federal Workers

The partial government shutdown is in Day 24 and federal workers across North Texas are going without pay.

Many are struggling to afford basic necessities, so companies, churches and nonprofits are stepping up in a big way.

During Sunday's service at Friendship West Baptist Church senior pastor Frederick Haynes offered prayers, words of comfort and a call to action.

"Our message yesterday was that we wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people who are suffering, who are being held hostage and it's not their fault," Haynes said. "They are experiencing an emergency and in an emergency, God's people should step up."

A special offering yielded about $16,000 to be distributed among 22 federal workers in attendance.

"As it stands right now, they're going to be receiving at least $800 a piece from the church," he said.

As North Texas churches feed the soul, other groups are helping put food on the table.

Mission Central is among the food banks expanding their service.

"If a family is coming from anywhere in the DFW area we will serve them," executive director Charles Wolford III said.

Mission Central is a faith-based nonprofit that feeds the Mid-Cities, but is now choosing to open its doors to any federal worker in need.

Workers are asked to present federal identification in order to receive aid.

"We believe we are to help our neighbor and those families, those are our neighbors," Wolford said.

Basic necessities will be available at Mission Central's Food Bank in Hurst every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the shutdown ends, according to Wolford.

"We're going to try and give as much meat as we can, milk, bread, all the basic necessities," he said.

Area organizations and schools have contacted the nonprofit offering to hold food drives in order to help with the expected increased need.

The YMCAs of Metropolitan Dallas and Fort Worth are waiving a month of membership dues for current members impacted by the shutdown through January, according to the organization's spokesperson.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas will also offer free workouts to non-members who are federal workers.

"For more than 130 years the YMCA has worked to strengthen our community by supporting families and our neighbors. During this time, we hope the Y can help ease stress for individuals and families affected by the shutdown," the YMCA said in a statement.

Alamo Drafthouse is offering free movie tickets for federal employees at all DFW locations, including Cedars, Lake Highlands, Richardson, Las Colinas and Denton, according to the company's spokesperson. Those interested are asked to present a valid federal identification card.

"You have Americans from various walks of life saying this is unfair, this is unjust and we're going to step up and be a blessing to persons who are suffering, struggling and who are in a real emergency," Haynes said.

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