Thousands of federal employees in the Bay Area continue to live without a paycheck as we endure the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. While negotiations in Washington D.C. continue without much progress, Bay Area cities are rallying together to support local federal workers as many of them continue to live without a paycheck.
The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank is providing a 7-10 day supply of nonperishable food items, as well as fresh produce to U.S. Coast Guard employees and families during this time. Families visiting the food bank will also have the opportunity to learn about and enroll in Cal Fresh benefits to provide further food security for families experiencing financial hardship due to the shutdown and their paychecks being withheld. Similar services are also in the works and serving federal employees of Santa Clara and San Mateo, two counties in the South Bay Area.
Additionally, the South Bay city of San Jose is also discussing using airport revenue to supplement the paychecks for TSA workers during this time. It is their hope that the airport safety and efficiency are not diminished in any way due to the unknown future and length of this shutdown. Specific policies continue to be in the planning stages with more concrete information to be discussed at this week’s City Council meeting.
Many restaurants are also joining the efforts and offering free meals for government employees and their families, with a valid federal employee identification. For a complete list of restaurants providing this service for families during the government shutdown, check out this list by Mercury News.
As a Bay Area teacher, I know and understand the financial challenges that come with living in such a costly area. Having my paycheck withheld would cause my family the same financial challenges that thousands of workers are currently facing. Despite the respect I hold for those who continue their service during this time of unknown, the withholding of paychecks, especially right after the holiday season, is downright damaging and unacceptable. I am proud of the way local organizations are coming together to stand against the hate holding these paychecks back and in favor of the people who work tirelessly to uphold the values our country so deeply needs.
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