MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mid-South church is doing what it can to help people in the area affected by the partial federal government shutdown, which was on day 19 Wednesday.
When he heard about the shutdown, Pastor Donald Johnson knew he wanted to contribute to those affected and not to the political discourse.
“I just realized people were going to be affected by it, and we didn’t want to spend any time just arguing and fighting about what the president is doing," said Pastor Johnson with Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Instead, he wanted members of his church to help.
He looked through the church’s database to find federal workers and asked members to stand on Sunday if they were affected.
“We didn’t want to look at them as a handout or people that were asking, but we wanted to be kind of proactive in that area," Johnson said.
They found eight people were federal employees who worked in different areas, like the IRS and Social Security.
Johnson asked for the money donated in regular offering to go toward the government staff members and asked the church’s financial board to match it.
“Every dime of it went to those people," he said.
They raised $8,000 altogether, giving almost $1,000 to each person not being paid right now.
He said everyone’s extremely grateful, but he knows there is more to do.
“The facts still remain that there’s more to still do—their car payments, insurance, they have to eat, things of that nature," Johnson said.
Johnson said he and his congregation will continue to do what they can to help, and they will keep politics out of it.
“If we know there’s a need, then we have to sow the seed," Johnson said.
He challenged others to do the same.