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A church in Alabama gave away $16,500 worth of grocery store gift cards to furloughed federal employees

Published by Business Insider on Fri, 18 Jan 2019


The First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, is stepping in to help people impacted by the partial government shutdown.Nicknamed "Rocket City," Huntsville is home to more than 40,000 federal workers and contractors, NBC News reported, and it's the location of the US Army post Redstone Arsenal.While the Army is still paying its staff, at NASA, 95% of workers have been furloughed. More than 5,000 Huntsville residents have been impacted by the shutdown the AP reportedand the city is feeling the impact.The church held an event on Thursday where parishioners not only gave out around $16,500 in grocery store gift cards, but they also hosted local organizations, which set up booths to provide information for furloughed workers who may be looking for assistance.The First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, is stepping in to help those impacted by the partial government shutdown.Nicknamed "Rocket City," Huntsville is home to roughly 40,000 federal workers and contractors, NBC News reported.Huntsville is adjacent to Redstone Arsenal, which is not just a US Army post, but also the location of around 70 federal agencies, including NASA's Marshall Flight Center, according to the Associated Press.While the US Army is still paying its staff, at NASA, 95% of workers have been furloughed. More than 5,000 Huntsville residents have been impacted by the shutdown the AP reportedand the city is feeling the impact.On Thursday, the First Baptist Church held an event where they not only gave out around $16,500 in grocery store gift cards (up to $100 per family), but they also hosted local organizations to provide information for furloughed workers who may be looking for assistance from food banks or help getting a short-term loan."I know these times have been challenging for you and your families," Jody Singer, the director of the Marshall NASA Space Flight Center, told families, NBC News reported. "We want to make sure we lessen the burden on you."Hotels and restaurants used to housing or feeding government employees or government contract workers are also being hit, as the AP explains, more than half of Huntsville's economy relies on spending from Washington. DC."It's a fog with no end in sight," Michael Northern, vice president of WJP Restaurant Group told the AP. While the lunch crowd is OK, he said the dinner crowd has thinned."People are just going home and nesting, trying to conserve resources," Northern continued. "Imagine being in that posture and hearing Donald Trump say, 'It could be a year.'"Join the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy
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