Alabama church hands out $16,500 worth of groceries to families on furlough

Alabama church hands out $16,500 worth of groceries to families on furlough
© Stefani Reynolds

A church in Alabama handed out $16,500 worth of grocery store gift cards to furloughed workers Thursday, NBC News reported.

First Baptist Church of Huntsville is in a community where 40,000 federal workers and contractors live, in the Alabama town where NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is located. Roughly 6,000 NASA staff have been sent home without pay during the ongoing partial government shutdown. 

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The church is "helping a lot of people out by giving gift cards to the grocery store, which is going to go a long way," said Dan Mailman, a NASA contractor who has already missed one pay period, according to NBC.

"Its a little stressful reaching into week four," he added of the government shutdown. "You know, it's not a position I want to be in."

Local organizations, including a food bank, reportedly set up inside the church to help inform federal workers about options available to them during the shutdown.

The government has been shut down since Dec. 22 over disagreements between President TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE and congressional Democrats regarding border security.

Roughly 800,000 workers have either been furloughed or are working without pay across the country.

Trump signed a bill Tuesday guaranteeing backpay for furloughed workers once the shutdown is resolved, but many workers are struggling with short term needs including paying bills and feeding their families.