Community members in Rancho Bernardo are coming together over social media to collect donations for federal government workers.
The Facebook group, called RB Federal Relief Food/Supply Exchange is collecting gas cards, grocery gift cards, and pet food for federal workers who are working without paychecks during the federal government shut down, now the longest in America's history.
For about 800,000 federal employees in the United States, furloughed or working without pay, January 11 marked their first missed paycheck. Some have turned to freelancing or ride-share programs to make ends meet.
The local Facebook group was created on January 13. As of Tuesday morning, it had over 60 members.
"With the federal shut down we were hoping it would end sooner rather than later," said, Cristina Walkley, a registered nurse and mother of four children. "Unfortunately we can no longer wait. As a community we had to do something."
In addition to donations, residents are collecting resources that federal government workers can use: teachers are offering free tutoring for children, while others are contacting local politicians on behalf of workers.
Organizers said once enough donations are collected, they will reach out to government workers directly who might need assistance through Facebook. Or federal workers can contact the group with a message.
"We felt this was the best way to help by reaching out to those directly affected," added Walkley.
Walkley has also started a second group on Facebook for those living in Scripps Ranch, Sabre Springs, and Rancho Peñasquitos.