With the partial government shutdown stretching into its 33rd day today, local churches and even one utility company, are offering assistance to federal government employees affected by the shutdown.
Grace on the Hill United Methodist Church in Corbin is opening its food bank to federal government employees.
Everett Shekleton, who is over the food bank, said government employees may come to the food bank at the church on Cumberland Falls Hwy. once a month to pick up a box of food.
“It is limited to the first 50 federal workers each week because we just don’t have the supply of food to serve everyone,” Shekleton said explaining that the pantry provides enough food to supplement an individual or family for four to five days.
The food includes staples, such a fruit and vegetables, along with items, such as spaghetti.
The pantry typically serves 90 families per week.
Shekleton said he looked into helping the federal employees after seeing a news story about a woman that was donating plasma to feed her family.
“I thought if she is going to that extreme, we have got to do something to help,” Shekleton said.
Donations from the community are welcome and encouraged, whether they are monetary or food.
“We can use monetary donations to purchase food through the food bank in Lexington, which we can do at a discounted price,” Shekleton said adding that canned goods and other non-perishable items are also welcome and appreciated.
In addition to food, Shekleton said the pantry would gladly accept toiletry items, including toilet paper, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream, and similar items.
The food pantry is open 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Monday.
Federal workers should bring their federal ID with them.
Immanuel Baptist Church in Corbin is giving out free food boxes and other household necessities to impacted federal workers.
Assistance is available 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the church, which is located on Browning Acres Road off of Ky. 312.
First Baptist Church in Williamsburg is also opening its food bank to federal workers.
Pastor Ande Myers said the church received permission from its food supplier, God’s Food Pantry, to give away free food to impacted federal workers.
First Baptist Church’s food bank normally operates by appointment, but Myers said federal workers can go get food at the food bank during its hours of operation, which are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
For more information, federal workers can contact the church at 549-0280.
Myers said so far there has just been a trickle of federal workers that have utilized the food bank, but that if the federal shutdown continues into next month he has been told that the Kentucky Consular Center may be impacted.
Sizzlin’ Hot Bar and Grill, which is located inside the Cumberland Regional Mall in Williamsburg, posted on its Facebook page Wednesday morning that on Wednesday, Jan. 23 and Thursday, Jan. 24, it would be offering free meals to affected federal workers.
“If you’re affected by this shutdown Sizzlin Hot family wants to offer you a free meal today and tomorrow! Provide staff with your Federal ID is all you need to do! We will also feed your Spouse and Children” the post stated.
JonEvan Jack’s Restaurant in Corbin is offering a free meal to anyone affected by the shutdown. Contact the restaurant at (606) 261-7688.
“If you are struggling to eat let us know. We can’t do much but we can offer a lil support and some comfort food,” restaurant officials posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Hometown Bank is offering financial assistance for its customers, who are federal employees affected by the shutdown.
The bank is offering a line of credit equal to government employee’s monthly salary with zero interest and no fees.
Bank President Tim Barnes said the loan would be 60-day loan.
“If the loan is made in January, it would be due in March. If we get into March and the employee is still not being paid, it will be extended until they get their back pay,” Barnes said.
The employee would be able to get a new loan each month.
In order to qualify for the loan, the employee must show a federal ID, two pay stubs, and be a Hometown Bank customer.
“This is just part of being a community bank trying to help our customers,” Barnes said.
Kentucky Utilities, which serves approximately 553,000 customers in Kentucky, said it would work with furloughed federal employees to help them with their energy bill, whether it is through a budget payment plan, through one of the heating assistance programs, or by matching the customer with one of the community agencies that provide assistance.
“We want customers to know that we’re ready to provide assistance tailored to their specific situation,” said LG&E and KU Vice President of Customer Services Beth McFarland said.
KU customers may get more information by calling (800) 981-0600.