CHICAGO -- Although the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history is over, the next one could come in a matter of weeks if President Trump and Republicans and Democrats in Congress can’t tear down the wall between their positions and reach an agreement on border security that could include a contentious wall of a different sort.
Hundreds of thousands federal employees were furloughed or worked without pay during the shutdown, which lasted 35 days.
- To see how the shutdown affected the c-store industry, click here.
Here is how some members of the convenience-store industry pitched in to offer help to federal employees to weather the loss of a paycheck …
1. 7-Eleven Travel Plaza
The 7-Eleven convenience store at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York allowed federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown to make purchases with the promise of payment when they start receiving paychecks again.
The move is part of the JFK Travel Plaza’s Federal Worker Relief Program, which is designed to help federal workers who are struggling without a paycheck—and still coming to work—to purchase what they need now and pay later.
“It must be very difficult for the hardworking employees at JFK that keep us safe to go through their daily lives not knowing when they will get paid,” said George AbiZeid, president of JFK Travel Plaza, which is part of Jericho, N.Y.-based Airport Plazas’ national consortium of travel plazas at airports.
Under the terms of the program, federal workers can show their government-issued IDs and sign the receipt. Once the shutdown ends and the workers receive their paychecks, they can settle their outstanding balance.
3. Energy North
Energy North Group, Lawrence, Mass., with support from its vendor partners Snyder’s Lance, Frito-Lay and Pepsi, provided "Lunch on Us" to Logan Airport Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees. Each day from Jan. 21 through Jan. 25, in-uniform TSA employees received a free sandwich, snack-size bag of chips and fountain drink at the Energy North Gulf station at Logan Airport in East Boston, Mass.
“We recognize the strain and sacrifices these dedicated employees are making to keep our air travel safe and uninterrupted,” said Jonathan Ketchum, vice president of retail for Energy North Group. “We want to do our share to express our gratitude and make things a little easier for them.”
On Jan. 18, Energy North Group also provided 1,100 $20 gas gift cards (550 Mobil and 550 Gulf) to Massport for distribution to the TSA workforce. Each gift card was loaded with $20. Massport distributed the gift cards Jan. 18.
4. Mendez Fuel
Mendez Fuel gave out free gasoline to furloughed federal workers one day during the shutdown, reported WSVN in Miami. TSA, customs, border patrol and Coast Guard personnel with identification filled up with 10 gallons of gas at several Mendez Fuel gas stations in southern Florida Feb. 23.
“I’ve been watching the news and seeing how all the federal employees are struggling just to make ends meet but still having to report to work,” Michael Mendez of Mendez Fuel told the news outlet. “I see that as being a little unfair, so I wanted to help out a little bit and put some gas in their tank. … Every day they’re doing thankless jobs for the most part, and we take it for granted.”
Wawa and The Wawa Foundation provided support to programs, partners and neighbors assisting furloughed government workers. The support included accelerating funding by The Wawa Foundation to national charity partners with existing programs that provide ongoing assistance in its market area. Its response included grants to support food programming for the U.S. Coast Guard and food bank programs.
In addition, Wawa continues to provide support through in-kind donations to neighboring organizations that have been most affected, the Wawa, Pa.-based retailer said.
6. Wixom Marathon
A Marathon gas station in Wixom, Mich., gave out $40 gas cards to federal employees affected by the government shutdown, reported WXYZ. All federal employees with work status identification who were working without a paycheck or on furlough could receive a gas card.
Congresswoman Haley Stevens announced the offer on Facebook on behalf of the gas station's owner, Eddie Osman.
On Jan. 23, mobile fueling company Filld donated more than 2,500 gallons of gasoline to more than 300 furloughed workers affected by the government shutdown in Bethesda, Md., and Washington, D.C. Workers lined up to receive up to 10 gallons of free gasoline delivered by Filld trucks.
“Filld launched in D.C. last year, and we realized we had an opportunity to help people who were affected by the shutdown by giving out free gas to the folks who need it,” said Scott Hempy, founder of Mountain View, Calif.-based Filld. “Being on the ground truly helped me appreciate the nature of the situation that some of these furloughed folks are in currently, and how a simple 10 gallons of gas can make a difference to their lives. I really see this as the duty of businesses being good members of the community.”
Filld also partnered with iHeart Radio on Jan. 25 to give out more free gas to furloughed workers during a breakfast hosted by iHeart in Rockville, Md. They received up to 10 gallons of free fuel and a complimentary breakfast.