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Furloughed Employees Volunteer To Help Others During Shutdown

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- The government shutdown has passed the 4-week mark, affecting hundreds of thousands of people nationwide. With no end in sight, Justin Wright was sick of sitting around his house.

"I felt like I needed to get out and help do something. I googled places in Lakewood that have volunteer opportunities and sent an email," said Wright, a furloughed Computer Programmer for the U.S. Geological Survey.

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He showed up on Thursday at the Jefferson County Action Center in Lakewood ready to help.

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"It's just nice to be out and be making a difference and helping out wherever I can," Wright said. "I helped stock up the cooler a little bit. And then, mostly, just helping with people who are driving up and dropping off donations and then just unloading it and sorting it where it needs to go."

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Justin Wright (credit: CBS)

The Action Center has a food pantry, clothing, and helps connect people to community resources. Since the shutdown, they've stressed to government workers that their doors are open, but they didn't expect some of those workers to show up to help.

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Each year the center gets about 100,000 hours from 4,000 volunteers. Within the past week, about five furloughed employees have started helping out and it is likely more will join in.

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"Everyone else is just like me and you just wish you could go back to work. But we're kind of stuck and there's really not much we can do," Wright said. "I'm hoping to come in regularly until I hear something different about the whole shutdown."

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