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Sitting in a children’s dance studio, I overheard a Coast Guard-wife telling someone that a Coast Guard friend had recently cancelled her young daughter’s birthday party because of the government shutdown. “It’s not something you can dip into savings to cover,” she said.

Angel Stephensen, army veteran and federal employee of the Transportation Security Administration, described this week in the Washington Post, the impact of the shutdown. She wrote:

“Working for the Transportation Security Administration isn’t glamorous on the best of days … Though we are just enforcing the rules that keep the public safe, most people treat us as the jerks who want to take away their nail clippers … [Although] most travelers I’ve encountered recently have been very nice to the TSA … it’s hard to know what to say … When one passenger tried to give me a cash tip, I had to refuse. I could lose my job if I accepted, I told her.”

Politics aside and regardless of the side of your aisle, we should take stock of ways we can help our fellow citizens through this stressful and uncertain economic time. We know that many Americans lives paycheck-to-paycheck and the ripple effects of the shutdown have broad impact.

Here are things you can do to help those both directly and indirectly affected by the shutdown. At Give InKind, we strive to enable dialogue and actionable, effective assistance. Here are some places to begin.

  1. Pitch in with childcare, transportation, and meals. Use a Give InKind calendar to coordinate a care pool for a family to offset expenses they had not anticipated.
  2. Give flexible gift cards for families to use as they see fit. Consider Visa Gift cards, or Amazon gift cards in any amount.
  3. Consider paying utility bills or pitch in for groceries. Meal kits can be delicious, nutritious, and offset the cost of meal planning for weeks.
  4. Cover car-related expenses. Gas cards are welcome and so are Jiffy-Lube-type services.
  5. Some affected families may be members of the Sandwich generation – responsible, as well, for helping aging parents. Ride-share services may be useful in terms of getting a grandparent to a medical appointment without involving the affected worker.

To those federal workers affected by the shutdown, please allow your fellow citizens to honor your service by lending a hand. You make tremendous sacrifices to keep our country running. We would greatly appreciate a chance to be worthy of your sacrifices. So, tell us – what do you need? (Meanwhile, I’m gonna be busy tracking down that child who needs a birthday party).

Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.

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