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"Pay It Furloughed" offers a way to buy a beer for federal workers hit by shutdown

Utah city feels shutdown strain
Ogden, Utah, feels the strain of the shutdown with thousands of furloughed workers 02:45

About 800,000 federal workers haven't seen a paycheck since December 22, and one organization is hoping to relieve some of their stress by collecting donations. Donations of free beer, that is. 

"Pay It Furloughed" allows people to buy a beer for a furloughed worker in the Washington, D.C. area. "Beer makes everything better, so we're buying local craft brews for federal employees impacted by the government shutdown," the website reads.

Those who would like to donate to can buy one beer at $7.50 or a full six-pack for $45 from one of four participating bars in Washington, D.C. Any federal employee or contractor over the age of 21 can visit the bar with their ID and receive a free beer. Over 1,600 beers have been bought by donors so far, though the site says only 157 have been claimed as of Wednesday afternoon.  Furloughed workers in D.C. are invited to claim one of the remaining free beers. 

For the hundreds of thousands of workers who need more practical support during the shutdown, there are several legitimate charities working to help those in need.

Food banks

The Capital Area Food Bank, which operates in the Washington, D.C., area, hosted five pop-up food pantry locations after federal workers flooded the organization's "Hunger Lifeline" with calls for help, according to the organization's president and CEO Radha Muthiah.

The 42,000 Coast Guard members across the country working without pay through the shutdown have also turned to local organizations like the East Bay Coast Guard Spouses' Club in California for help. The group said it helped 186 families at a food drive in a day care center in Alameda, handing out supplies from the Alameda Food Bank

Kraft has also opened a pop-up store in Washington, D.C. The initiative, "Kraft Now. Pay later." allows federal workers to shop for a variety of Kraft products for free. "Don't worry about paying now," Kraft wrote in the event's description on Facebook. "Once the situation gets back to normal, if you can pay it back we would ask you to pay it forward to your favorite charity."

Free restaurants

Free groceries aren't all that's being provided for federal workers. Sweetgreen and &Pizza in Washington, D.C., are offering free meals for federal workers between certain times, and all restaurants owned by celebrity chef Jose Andrés in the city are offering free sandwiches for any federal employee with ID and their family, according to Patch. Andrés tweeted about the effort using the hashtag #ChefsForFeds.

Andrés said he hopes the free relief kitchen will also be "a call to action" to President Trump and Congress to work together and end the shutdown, which has spanned 24 days and counting.

Of course, the shutdown isn't just affecting federal workers in Washington, D.C. There are thousands of furloughed workers in communities across the country. In Texas, Pipeline Pizza and a number of other local restaurants are offering free food to those affected by the shutdown, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU reports.

Several restaurants in Colorado are also pitching in to help furloughed workers in the state, CBS Denver reports.

Beyond food

Not only are food banks and restaurants helping furloughed workers find their next meal, but there are several companies helping ease other burdens. Alpine Bank of Colorado is offering furloughed workers a loan equal to one month of their salary, according to CBS Denver. They'll have six months to pay it back with zero interest.

AT&T is offering flexible payment options for their customers affected by the shutdown. "Just because the government shut down, doesn't mean that your phone, TV, and internet should stop working too," the company said in a statement on its website

"As long as the shutdown is in effect, our customer service team will adjust late fees, provide extensions, and coordinate with you on revised payment schedules," AT&T said.

Verizon is also waiving late fees and has information on its website to help federal workers set up delayed payment plans.

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