United Way of Jackson County stepping into to help furloughed workers

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore.— Wednesday marks the 33rd day of the partial government shut down and if the shut down continues, this Friday would make the second paycheck many furloughed employees won’t be getting.

Thousands of federal workers are in Southern Oregon and Northern California which is why local agencies are stepping in to help those impacted by the shutdown.

“I can’t imagine as a family that, that being your sole support and losing all of it, that would be tough,” Executive director of United Way of Jackson County, Dee Anne Everson, said.

She’s heard countless stories of furloughed employees who are struggling to pay for gas, food, and medication they need.

“We had a man who needed to choose between iron or blood for his wife who is undergoing cancer treatments,” Everson said.

Those stories, in addition to the number of people in need, are the reasons why United Way is offering $300 in gift cards to Safeway and Fred Meyer. Those gift cards can cover necessary items like food, gas, and prescriptions.

“The hope chest is the United Ways emergency assistance fund,” Everson said. “Right now we’re reserving it for these furlough workers.”

Everson said they’ve helped over 70 people receive gift cards on Wednesday, amounting to over $20,000.

The funds, however, are running out. Everson is concerned that if the shutdown doesn’t end soon, tens of thousands of people will go hungry.

“We’re up against a real crisis for people in our community and we have to know that all of those are real and we have to get our government reopened,”  Everson said.

If you would like to donate to the Hope Chest Fund, you can head to http://www.unitedwayofjacksoncounty.org/give/.

 

Blakely McHugh is co-anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and spokesperson for In This Together, a suicide prevention initiative. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA. Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors. Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “hi!”
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