Community teams up to help federal workers impacted by shutdown

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Demetress Stringfield says her faith is what keeps her strong.

Her faith is unshaken, despite the uncertainty that swirls around her - Stringfield is one of the federal employees who isn’t receiving pay during this partial government shutdown.

For her, the financial grip isn’t super tight at the moment, because she has money put to the side.

But once that runs out, she’s going to be in a tough spot.

“We survive with our jobs and when you don't have income, it's like, what do I do?” Stringfield said.

Community advocate Ricky Johnson says he can’t ignore the plight of federal employees like Stringfield.

His foundation is teaming up with Walmart, The Gee Law Firm, Five Below and two area churches to create a resource center - but they need the community’s help.

“We've partnered with Gee Law Fir, trying to get people to donate essential items. The goal is to set up a store on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 9-9 so federal employees can come with id and their last check stub so we can know they currently are federal employees. Then, they can shop at no expense to them” Johnson explained.

He said when area workers impacted by the government shutdown contact his Ricky Johnson & Friends organization, he wants be able to give them assistance. That’s why collecting donations and essential household supplies is on Johnson’s to do list.

“Walmart is very in tune with the Richmond community and when there's a need, we are ready to support it.” said Anita Rouse, manager of the Shelia Lane Walmart store.

Pastor Cavell Phillips of Unity Community Church in Powhatan hopes more churches will join in, to help lighten the load.

“Part of the reason God blessed us is so that we can be a blessing to somebody else. We encourage other churches to team up with Beautiful Temple and Unity Community Church to do your part to help families affected by the government shutdown” Phillips said.

“This week will be the first time we are actually missing a check. So, I think it's great that the community is coming together to help families” Stringfield added.

Johnson says starting Wednesday he and his volunteers will be stationed at the Walmart on Nine Mile Road in Eastern Henrico and at the Walmart in Petersburg. Other donation sites include the Walmart on Sheila lane and Colonial Heights.

Area five below stores will also participate in the relief efforts. For more information on how you can support these relief efforts, contact organizers at 804-774-0099.

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