GoodNews: Giving back, not giving up as federal shutdown continues

A food and supply donation for unpaid but working Transportation Safety Administration agents lands at Orlando International Airport on Jan. 16. (AP Photo/John Raoux)A food and supply donation for unpaid but working Transportation Safety Administration agents lands at Orlando International Airport on Jan. 16. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

An epic battle of ill will between House Democrats and the Trump administration extended into late January as the longest partial shutdown of the federal government in history continued. Around the country rents came due and cupboards grew bare as the squabble went on in Washington. But in Catholic Charities offices around the nation, staff mobilized and resources were reallocated to support this latest vulnerable U.S. community, that of furloughed workers.

Catholic Charities San Antonio was offering help to all comers. “We have several cases coming, [and] yesterday we [had] many people calling in,” Antonio Fernandez, the Catholic Charities San Antonio director, told KSAT news. “The two biggest issues were food and rent. People did not get a paycheck on Friday [Jan. 11], so now they are struggling to make ends meet.”


In Washington, furloughed workers not used to seeking assistance were lining up outside of Catholic Charities offices to pick up $500 checks to help with food, housing and utilities, according to the Catholic News Agency. With no clear end to the shutdown in sight, Catholic Charities said it would help anyone who applies for help, no matter their backgrounds, race or religion.

Laura Bandini, a federal worker, has been through unwelcome furloughs before. She made the best of her time off, she told The Arlington Catholic Herald, by volunteering.

This time Ms. Bandini and other members of her parish, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Arlington, have invited furloughed workers to volunteer at the parish thrift store and food pantry. Ms. Bandini finds herself especially worried about nongovernmental employees.

“Contract workers most likely won’t get any back pay—cafeteria workers and janitors,” she said. “We hope anybody [in need] will reach out to their parish community for help.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


The latest from america

People bury a prisoner who was killed during a prison riot in Altamaria, Para state, Brazil, on July 31. Grieving families began to arrive that day at the cemetery of Altamira to mourn some of the 58 inmates killed by a rival gang in a grisly prison riot. (AP Photo/Raimundo Pacco)
Deadly riots regularly occur in the third-largest prison system in the world, reports Eduardo Campos Lima, and Brazilian authorities are restricting the practice of religion rather than address overcrowding, gang activity and other problems.
Eduardo Campos LimaAugust 21, 2019
Love created us to be distinct from itself so that we could choose to love. It will not annihilate us, overwhelm who we are.
Terrance KleinAugust 21, 2019
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty at the White House in Washington Dec. 8 1987. (CNS photo/Reuters)
Without the I.N.F. Treaty, there are no longer any limits on destabilizing intermediate-range weapons. There are also no mechanisms for verification and transparency measures or other confidence-building exchanges among military officials and nuclear arms scientists.
Maryann Cusimano LoveAugust 21, 2019
Each grandparent finds their own way to maintain connections, build relationships and meet the challenges of sharing their Catholic faith from afar.
John FeisterAugust 21, 2019