GoFundMe has set up a relief fund to help federal workers who have been affected by the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history. The fund was announced by GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon, who matched New Age guru Deepack Chopra's initial $10,000 donation.
"Across the country, hundreds of thousands of government workers are furloughed or forced to work without pay," Solomon wrote on the campaign's description.
"They are honest, hard working Americans serving our country. They are showing up to work protecting our coastal waters and keeping our airports and skies safe, among other important duties as civil servants and contractors.
"They’re going through a very tough time through no fault of their own. They put in a full day, and when they come home they have to figure out how to pay rent, put food on the table, or afford diapers for their newborn. We all read these stories and feel helpless. We are stuck because we don’t know what to do."
Nearly 800,000 federal workers across nine departments have been affected by the shutdown since it began last month. Around 380,000 thousand federal workers have been asked to stay home, while the other 420,000 essential employees are working without pay. Federal employees missed their first paycheck more than a week ago.
"We want to provide a place for people to take action and help someone in need, because, together, we have power to make a difference and provide critical short-term relief," the fundraiser's page reads. "The over 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay don’t deserve this hardship, but we have the opportunity to take action and deliver a message of hope and solidarity."
Donations made to the fundraiser will be distributed to several different nonprofits operating across the nation. One example is the World Central Kitchen in Washington D.C., which has been providing free meals to federal workers. Another portion of the funds will be transferred to the National Diaper Network, a nonprofit that supplies diapers to new parents who have been affected by the shutdown. A full list of the nonprofits that will receive donations will be released by the crowdfunding platform in the coming days.
"I hope the shutdown ends soon. In the meantime, please join me and help our fellow Americans by providing some short term relief," Solomon wrote in a press release about the campaign. "This is not about politics. This is lending a helping hand to someone in need."
As of Monday morning, more than $100,000 had been donated to the fundraiser.