Local church congregation raising money to help furloughed federal workers

BARTLETT, Tenn. — Right now, there is no end in sight for the government shutdown, as talks between the president and leading Democrats seemed to have stalled.

And the effects of that hold out are about to be felt tomorrow. For many furloughed federal employees, they will miss a paycheck tomorrow.

However, Mid-South communities are trying to get their own through the tough times.

One local church raised money to help its members who have been furloughed.

A few members of Oak Grove Missionary Church work for the IRS and other government agencies.

And they told FOX13 the past few weeks have been stressful, not knowing when the shutdown will end.

That is why members of their congregation wanted to step in and help.

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Janice Bankston has worked for the IRS for nearly 35 years. She has been furloughed during a government shutdown before, but she said this time feels different.

“The uncertainty of what’s going to happen, how soon we can return, don’t know how you’re going to pay your bills,” said Bankston.

Bankston said she was paid two weeks ago, and she is supposed to get paid on Friday. But she said it wouldn’t be a full paycheck and after taxes, it may not be much at all.

“It’s very scary, I’ve been able to get some creditors to put off receiving a payment and some are saying no you have to bring the payment on in,” Bankston said. “It’s very scary to know you’re not going to have any income coming in.”

Watching the shutdown enter another week, Pastor Donald Johnson said he had to do something.

“We don’t see them as charity cases,” Johnson said. “Those are our brothers and sisters, that’s our family and family comes together to help family.”

Within two days, members of the congregation donated thousands of dollars and the church matched it.

Together, they raised nearly $8,000, which was split between eight furloughed employees in the congregation.

“I didn’t see it coming, but I am grateful, very grateful,” said Bankston.

Johnson said he hopes this effort inspires other churches to do the same.

“We’ll do it again if it goes on, we’re praying that things change but if it doesn’t, we’re not going to let them go without, how about that!” Johnson said.