The partial government shutdown is almost a month old, which has meant almost a month of financial frustration for the thousands of federal government workers who have been furloughed. CNN reports that there’s a new way that people can help ease a little bit of that frustration — by donating a free beer to workers affected by the shutdown.
The initiative is called Pay it Furloughed and it allows anyone to buy a beer for a furloughed government employee through their website. Affected workers just have to show their government ID — at bars the project has partnered with in Washington — to claim their free beer.
“Free beer makes everything a little bit better — even a shutdown,” the organization tweeted on January 15.
Pay it Furloughed is the brain child of food writer Nevin Martell and his partner in the project, Al Goldberg. It all began after a conversation about what they could do to help people whose lives had been upended by the partial government shutdown. Martell, Goldberg, and two other partners kicked things off by buying $1,000 worth of beer. They told CNN that by Sunday, Pay it Furloughed had received $2,000 in donations — and some of that money had come from overseas.
The partner locations are D.C breweries that serve craft beers, so they’re also helping to market local businesses.
“We look at it as a win-win-win,” Martell told CNN. “People get to do something good, employees experience something good and breweries get the business they deserve,” he said.
Donating a beer costs $7.50, and there’s a 10 percent fee attached — which is meant to cover taxes, processing fees, and website upkeep.
Free beer makes everything a little bit better – even a shutdown. Here are some furloughed federal employees enjoying free beers @AtlasBrewWorks courtesy of your donations to @payitfurloughed. Thanks for your generosity! @MessHallDC @erickmsanchez @3advance #PayItFurloughed pic.twitter.com/cPdc6SZZjz— payitfurloughed (@payitfurloughed) January 15, 2019
Now that Pay it Furloughed is getting traction, its creators want to take it to other cities, too. Their main stumbling block has been finding partner businesses that they can rely on to be honest. The momentum has also encouraged the creators to think beyond beer — as they’re considering growing their scope to include food items.
There are similar projects in Washington, initiatives that are helping furloughed workers access food.
As CNBC reports, renowned chef Jose Andres has opened an emergency community kitchen in Washington to help people who are struggling during the partial government shutdown. Andres normally opens these kitchens in places affected by natural disasters.
“We have hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans that are struggling right now because of the situation,” Mook said on CNBC’s Power Lunch. “They need a hot plate of food to kind of help make ends meet.”