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Anonymous Donor Gives $500,000 To Philly Non-Profit To Offer Zero-Interest Loans To Hundreds of Federal Workers

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A local organization is trying to help off-set the hardships for federal workers dealing with the government shutdown.

Thanks to a generous $500,000 pledge from an anonymous donor, furloughed workers in the area can receive interest-free loans during the government shutdown.

The event is called the Federal Worker Emergency Relief Loan Program and is being organized by nonprofit Hebrew Free Loan Society. The program is all about helping federal workers stay afloat.

"It's just wrong that we're enslaving people and forcing them to work without being paid. It's crazy," said Marshal Granor, the Immediate Past President of the Hebrew Free Loan Society.

Each federal worker receives $1,250. They just have to prove that they live in the greater Philadelphia area and are also a federal worker affected by the government shutdown.

"We received a phone call from a donor who felt that he needed to help out and make a difference, and came to us and said I want to give these loans out, can you facilitate doing that?' So, within one week of receiving this incredible gift we were able to put this program together," said Executive Director Cheryl Barish Erlick. "We do still have appointments available for today, as well as Tuesday. They just need to go online and apply, they need a salary cap of up to $65,000, show they are furloughed and live in our area."

The loans are required to be paid in full 90 days after the borrowers return to paid work.

IRS customer service representative Naima Wolfolk, who normally processes paperwork from tax returns, found herself on the other side of the table applying for a zero-interest loan after not receiving her federal paycheck again in weeks.

"I feel good. I can pay my rent. I can pay some of the bills that's behind. I can pay my internet because you need internet," said Wolfolk.

Her story is similar to many others.

"It makes you feel happy that you know that you're not going to go into the poor house trying to pay your bills or eat so places like that just make me grateful," said federal worker Ebony Burnett.

Borrowers can apply for a loan at or call 267-225-7822 for more information.

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