State Watch

Salvation Army offers to cover furloughed federal workers' electric, gas bills in Virginia

A Virginia-based Salvation Army area command announced Friday that it would cover the electric and gas bills for furloughed federal workers in the state's eastern region.

Salvation Army Hampton Roads said it will pay the utility bills for federal workers in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake, a local ABC affiliate reported.

"Being able to alleviate the burden of a $250 power bill, you know when you've got your heat running, an expensive electric or gas bill, and then also being able to simultaneously provide food, that's several hundreds of dollars worth of financial stress that's just lifted off of these people's shoulders," Melissa Medel, Salvation Army Hampton Roads Marketing and Communications Manager, told

Clients are typically required to provide shut-off notices from Virginia Natural Gas and Dominion Energy, 13 News Now reported, but added that the Salvation Army's offer would waive that requirement.

The government entered a partial shutdown on Dec. 22 amid an impasse between President Trump and lawmakers over his demand for more than $5 billion in border wall funding.

An estimated 800,000 workers have been either furloughed or working without pay during the shutdown.

Several organizations have offered services like groceries, loans and debt relief to workers who have been struggling to make ends meet as they go without paychecks.

The shutdown entered its 28th day on Friday.