Volunteers collect food, supplies to help furloughed government workers

Federal government reopened after 35th day of the shutdown

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Even though the government reopened, the need to help furloughed employees is still there. 

Volunteers with the Orange County Democratic Party spent Saturday collecting donations for furloughed employees to pick up. 

The donations are stacked up as the partial government shutdown winds down. The 35-day stretch came to an end Friday, but hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees are still feeling the pain.

"They've gone for basically six weeks now with no pay," Orange County Democratic Party Chairman Wes Hodge said. 

The organization teamed up with the local union of federal workers to collect donations of food, toiletries and supplies. They also received $1,500 in donations to buy grocery and gas gift cards. 

[READ: Aerospace union to rally against shutdown]

Hodge said they want to help the people affected by the shutdown. 

"We're just here to make sure the people who are in need get exactly what they need," he said. 

Kelley Wilson dropped off a trunk full of donations collected by Christ Church Unity Orlando. She said serving is what the church members do and she knew they could help their neighbors who are trying to recover after the shutdown.

"They work, they earned their business and they still need help," Wilson said. "It feels good to know we're able to do our part."

Government employees pick up food. (Credit: Wes Hodge)

Volunteers said this is about more than politics. They said the donation drive is getting results to make sure federal workers get the help they need until they get their first paychecks. 

"We're putting people above politics and that's what this is all about. Whether you agree with the shutdown or not, the people that are doing the everyday day-to-day jobs are in need and that's who we're here working for," Wilson said.

The donations are being collected Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn's Sea World location, located at 6850 Westwood Boulevard in Orlando. 

Federal employees can pick up donations starting at 1 p.m. In order to do so, they must bring proof of federal employment or a pay stub.

Government employees pick up food. (Credit: Wes Hodge)

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