NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — During the long government shutdown, United Way employees expect an increase in request for their assistance.

So, First Call, The Community Resource Center and United Way of the Virginia Peninsula (UWVP) have started a fund to support local federal employees affected by the government shutdown.

The money will help furloughed employees with rent, mortgage payments, utility bills groceries, and transportation.

The campaign began on Jan. 15. UWVP officials are still in the process of gathering the money from donations people in the community give, and bigger corporations. 

So, furloughed government employees people can start receiving money as early as the end of next week.

In addition to creating a fund for the community, United Way is giving the non-profit partner agencies money that’s collected annually and distributed monthly, in advance.

That includes organizations like the Hampton Roads Community Action Program, are impacted by a lack of federal support.

Director of the program, Carlos Claton said “there’s everything from SNAP to W.I.C. It’s just a trickle-down effect that this entire shutdown is having on our community.”

“The response is growing every day," said Steve Kast the CEO and President of United Way of Virginia Peninsula.

For those who question helping the workers, since they’ll receive back pay, Kast has this reply “unfortunately they might be the recipients of these services, but they’ve been the giver for so many years.”

Wanda Cooke is one of those people. She's a Staff Accountant for the Salvation Army, but with this shutdown, her husband who works for NASA is going without pay.“I get to go to work and help out people”

"We may be on the other end of the need versus the give.” said Cooke.

She said she's "appreciative to know that the resources that are coming in through United Way and other agencies are coming in and going to help the works.”

Anybody wanting assistance from United Way of the Virginia Peninsula requires a scheduled appointment.

You must bring a furlough letter, department ID, and any other documents related to the shutdown to the appointment.

DONATIONS, ASSISTANCE

For more resources and to donate, visit www.uwvp.org.  

Monetary donations will be accepted at United Way's office, 11820 Fountain Way, Suite 206, Newport News, or online. 

If you are a furloughed federal employee and reside in Newport News, Hampton, or Lower York County, contact the United Way First Call service at 757-594-4636. 

If you reside in Williamsburg, James City County, and Upper York County, contact the Community Resource Center at 757-229-2222.

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