Several local organizations are stepping up to help federal workers in Western North Carolina who have been impacted by the partial federal government shutdown.
There are an estimated 6,000 federal employees and contractors in Western North Carolina, and many of those workers are experiencing significant personal and financial stress during this time.
The following organizations are offering assistance to those affected by the shutdown. Individuals interested in also providing aid should directly contact one of the organizations below or provide a financial donation via their website.
MANNA FoodBank welcomes federal employees and contractors affected by the shutdown to pick up food and grocery items at 627 Swannanoa River Road every Friday and Tuesday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm throughout January. Please bring your government identification with you. Should the shutdown continue past January, MANNA will reassess the situation and offer additional details at a later point. MANNA is also providing pop-up markets for TSA and FAA workers at Asheville Regional Airport.
YMCA of Western North Carolina is offering free healthy food to individuals affected by the shutdown through the Free Saturday Youth Meals and Mobile Market programs. Their mobile market schedule is available on their website.
Bounty & Soul of Black Mountain is available to anyone in the community who is in need of healthy food and a welcoming environment. They are a mobile market that delivers produce throughout Western North Carolina every day of the week. Please visit their website for additional information.
Babies Need Bottoms is offering diaper supply assistance to federal employees affected by the recent government shutdown. They are able to provide supplies to any eligible family in the following counties: Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania.
Farm Burger is offering free meals every Friday at its downtown and South Asheville locations to government workers impacted by the shutdown. The deal includes a free chicken burger, fries, and iced tea. To take advantage of the deal, furloughed workers must present a valid government identification.
New Belgium is offering individuals with government identification a free Fat Tire beer at their Asheville and Fort Collins locations.
Asheville Salt Cave is offering a free salt cave session to workers affected by the shutdown. This offer is for weekdays only and government identification must be shown at check-in. Please call 828-236-5999 to schedule your appointment.
Kanuga is inviting furloughed federal employees to join them at any of their retreat center meals this weekend. Please call ahead to reserve your spot at 828-692-9136.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs remains open for business during the shutdown and will continue to pay compensation benefits, education benefits, offer home loans, and provide community care and hardship support.
The Office of Personnel Management has resources available to federal employees who are interested in seeking unemployment compensation. “Federal workers who have been furloughed can file for unemployment like any other individual,” said Larry J. Parker, a spokesman for the North Carolina Division of Employment Security, part of the state Department of Commerce. “The requirements are the same. They must look for work, and if someone who is furloughed eventually receives back pay, they will have to repay the state for unemployment payments.”