Faced with impossible circumstances forced by the longest shutdown in U.S. history, hundreds of government workers have turned to GoFundMe to help pay for things like medicine and groceries. Now, GoFundMe has initiated its own relief fund to help ease the burden for workers without pay.
The company partnered with Deepak Chopra on the campaign and will distribute the funds to a number of nonprofits actively working to cover federal workers’ basic needs, including #ChefsForFeds and the National Diaper Bank Network. GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon that additional organizations will be added to the list of recipients.
“Instead of engaging in ideological debates while people suffer during the government shutdown, we could all help with creative solutions however small to help those affected,” Chopra told Gizmodo by email. “This is the least we can do.”
The campaign had already reached nearly 90 percent of its goal of $50,000 as of Sunday afternoon, with Chopra and GoFundMe having donated a combined $20,000 to kickstart the campaign. According to GoFundMe, the campaign’s goal will be increased once its initial target is reached.
“I wish we did not have to start a GoFundMe to help federal workers,” Solomon said in a statement. “Unfortunately we do. And because we live in an imperfect world, we have a simple choice: We can feel helpless while tragedy unfolds, or we can take action.”
As the shutdown stretches into a month, more than 800,000 government workers who have been furloughed or forced to work without any pay have taken desperate measures to provide for themselves and their families. In addition to well over 1,000 personal GoFundMe campaigns asking for assistance while the shutdown presses on, Craigslist has also been flooded with posts by individuals selling their property to make ends meet.
“Employees of the most powerful nation in the world are being forced to work without pay and line up at diaper or food banks,” Solomon said. “It makes no sense.”
Democrats over the weekend shot down what President Donald Trump presented as a “compromise” over his demands for funding for his border wall, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday tweeting: “What is original in the President’s proposal is not good. What is good in the proposal is not original.”
On Sunday, Pelosi called on Trump to “re-open the government” following his hours-long Twitter rant about the rejected proposal.