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Agencies, Businesses Step Up To Help Federal Employees During Shutdown

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - As the partial government shutdown nears the one month mark, more groups are stepping up to help federal workers.

After hearing that the Coast Guard is the only military branch to work without pay during the shutdown, Friday morning Alex Recio, founder of Colada Cuban Coffee House and Eatery in Flagler Village, and his staff delivered a hot breakfast and coffee to the U.S. Coast Guard base in Fort Lauderdale to show their appreciation.

The non-profit Feeding South Florida set up a food distribution area at Miami International Airport for TSA agents who were working without pay.

They had a similar food distribution at the Coast Guard station in Opa-locka on Thursday. If you'd like to help, Feeding South Florida is looking for volunteers to help sort through thousands of pounds of food that will go into future distributions. They're also asking for monetary donations.

"Feeding South Florida is here to put food on the table for our TSA agents and as well as our US customs agents," Feeding South Florida President Paco Velez said.

Lester Sola, Director of Miami International Airport, arranged a lunch for federal workers on Friday.

"We know how difficult it is on themselves and on their families. It's only right that we take a moment and an opportunity to give them thanks," Sola said.

The director also told CBS 4, there was enough food for the roughly 500 people who were impacted by the shutdown at the airport.

"We want to make sure they're obviously being fed and more importantly, they're being appreciated for everything they are doing," Sola said.

The Humane Society of Broward County is no providing pet care-related assistance to any affected government employee in need of help.

Free pet food and cat litter will be given to any individual who presents a valid government identification card from an affected agency. Furthermore, the agency will provide additional pet-related services with prior arrangements.

"This shutdown has affected so many families in our area, many of whom already lived paycheck to paycheck," says Mary Steffen, Senior Vice President of Operations at the Humane Society of Broward County. "Families are now struggling to find ways to put food on their own tables, so we are happy that we can at least help them find ways to feed, and care for, their pets."

The temporary food pantry will be open in the Humane Society of Broward County's Animal Admissions building during normal business hours, which are 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Monday – Saturday) and 8 a.m. - 5 p.m (Sunday).

Brightline is offering free rides for federal employees (Smart Service only) between its Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations.

Federal employees must present their government-issued employee ID to guest service agents at each Brightline station to receive a free SMART ride. Federal employees are eligible to receive complimentary rides until the government reopens. Rides can only be booked in the station.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will offer furloughed federal employees and families a complimentary buffet lunch and afternoon aboard the ship free of charge. They request that federal employees call customer service at 800-374-4363 to reserve their lunch and visit. They will need to provide a federal ID at port terminal visitor check in.

PayPal is committing to fund up to $25 million of interest-free cash advances to help federal government employees during the shutdown. PayPal is offering an interest-free cash advance up to $500 for federal employees through our PayPal Credit platform to pay for food, gas, and other everyday necessities.


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