As shutdown drags on, some step up to help federal workers

The efforts range from the grass-roots to the institutional. Banks and credit unions have suspended late-payment fees on credit cards, and some are offering low- or no-interest bridge loans. Utilities and cellphone companies have also offered to help in varying degrees, and mass transit systems in Florida and other states are providing free or reduced-price rides for those who are furloughed or working unpaid.

The federal government has offered a mash-up of advice to unpaid workers. And agencies have offered sample pushback letters to send to landlords and creditors who demand to be paid, including some that suggested bartering repair work for discounts on rent…

Many of the most effective responses to the shutdown have centered around providing workers with food — a tangible and relatively easy issue to address.

The Tampa airport was one of the first in the country to pull together local agencies, including food banks and a United Way chapter, to create a one-stop resource center for as many as 700 T.S.A., Customs and Border Protection and Federal Aviation Administration employees who are working without pay.

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