MISSOURI: The current government shutdown, which began on December 22, 2018, has become the longest in United States history.
tdown is causing financial distress for hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens who rely upon the federal government as their main source of income. Currently in it’s 29th day, the shutdown has left an estimated 800,000 government employees and an estimated 2 million federal contractors without pay.
Surveys show that the vast majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Many federal workers are sharing stories of desperation; some are selling their wedding rings to pay rent, some are choosing between buying medicine or paying off utility bills, and some are even struggling with purchasing groceries. Read a few of those stories here.
According to a 2016 survey from Bankrate.com, only 37% of Americans have enough savings to pay for an emergency that will cost between $500 and $1,000. A Washington Post analysis found that 110,000 federal workers earn less than $50,000 annually. For these workers in particular, missing just one paycheck has had a catastrophic impact. Many are sharing their stories on social media with the hashtag #ShutdownStories (view on Twitter here).
As of today, there are no signs that the shutdown will come to an end. In a campaign organized by Penny Appeal USA and CelebrateMercy, the Muslim-American community extends its hands to help provide relief to struggling federal workers.
We wish to respond to hardship with hope, as our faith instructs us, and send a message of compassion through action. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Show mercy to those on earth, and the One in Heaven will show mercy to you.” He also taught that one should never delay payments for an honest day’s work: “Give workers their wages before their sweat dries.” [Source: Ibn Majah]
100% of fundraising proceeds from this campaign will be used to support families of federal workers who are impacted by the current shutdown. Though this is a Muslim-led campaign, we welcome friends of all faiths to contribute (all donations are tax-deductible).
Grants of $500 will be issued by Penny Appeal USA on a first come, first serve basis to federal workers who are currently not receiving paychecks. Our hope is that $500 will at least cover a family’s groceries for an entire month; or other critical expenses such as medical bills. Preference will be given to applicants from larger households, single-income households, and those with less annual income.
Our initial goal is to raise $25,000, enough to provide 50 families with $500 grants. We will continue raising the goal if we exceed it.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty due to the shutdown and would like to apply for a $500 grant, visit: https://pennyappealusa.org/grants. Applicants who meet the criteria will be contacted within 3 days of their submission. All applicants and documents submitted will be treated with full confidentiality.
We will also help connect struggling federal workers with community partners in cities across America. Community partners are Muslim-led, local organizations who have pledged to help federal workers with meals, free medical services, and other needs.
Muslim-led community organizations and businesses (such as mosques or restaurants) can be listed below as Community Partners. These are local organizations who have been serving or pledge to serve federal employees during the shutdown. For example, communities can organize meal deliveries to TSA workers at airports or help connect federal workers to community doctors that can provide free medical services. We will update the list below at least twice daily. Sign up here to become a Community Partner.
St. Louis: Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis
Knoxville: Yassin’s Falafel House (free meals)