A beer won't change the fact that 800,000 federal government employees are working without pay or not working at all during the government shutdown, but the creators of a new website hope a free pint could help in some way. As reported by USA Today, Pay It Furloughed is offering free beers for unpaid and furloughed government workers via donations from anyone who wants to contribute. It's a small gesture, but it is symbol of support during this tough time.
The Pay It Furloughed website states, "Beer makes everything better, so we’re buying local craft brews for federal employees impacted by the government shutdown." They also explain more in-depth on the FAQ page, "We are frustrated by the lack of leadership in Washington, D.C. and the negative impact the government shutdown is having on hundreds of thousands of our friends, neighbors, and members of our community, as well as local businesses. So we want to step up and help them out as best we can."
To donate a beer is $7.50. There are also options listed to donate two beers ($15) or a six-pack ($45), as well as an option to give a larger donation. A tracker on the Pay It Furloughed homepage shows how many beers are available, how many have been donated in total, and how many have been enjoyed already. As of the writing of this post, there were 2,477 free beers available for the taking and 580 had been claimed.
For a federal worker to claim a beer, all they have to do is go to one of the participating local breweries and show their federal identification. There is no specific limit to how many free beers one person can get; although the site notes, "Please drink responsibly, and don't drink and drive. We and our partners reserve right to limit service." There are currently four breweries participating and a list with their names and hours can be found here.
Pay It Furloughed is far from the only place helping out or doing something nice for federal workers. As reported by CNN, restaurants around the country are offering free meals for government employees during the shutdown. Chef José Andrés, with his charity World Central Kitchen, is also giving out free food daily during the shutdown. The program is called #ChefsForFeds.
If you'd like to help out outside of donating a beer or two, consider donating to a food bank that provides food for federal employees. To start, there's the Capital Area Food Bank, which has set a goal "to provide 300,000 extra meals by raising $120,000 in January." World Central Kitchen also accepts donations. As CNBC reports, there are also many, many GoFundMe pages out there created by government workers who are asking for support.
Obviously, none of this should be happening. These people should be getting paid, and it should not be on their fellow Americans to help them out. But, in times like this, people really come together, and if the shutdown continues much longer, you can expect even more programs to pop up to help these people and their families.