Church provides furloughed members with gift cards during shutdown: 'When our community hurts, we hurt'

PHOTO: Federal workers who attend the Concord Church in Dallas were given $100 Walmart gift cards during the morning service on Jan. 13. PlayWFAA
WATCH Church gives furloughed members gift cards: 'When our community hurts, we hurt'

A community in Texas has rallied around federal employees who are living without pay due to the ongoing government shutdown.

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On Sunday, Concord Church senior pastor Bryan Carter asked anyone who is a federal employee or a family member of a federal employee to stand up during the morning service, inviting them to the alter, ABC Dallas station WFAA reported.

PHOTO: Federal workers who attend the Concord Church in Dallas were given $100 Walmart gift cards during the morning service on Jan. 13. WFAA
Federal workers who attend the Concord Church in Dallas were given $100 Walmart gift cards during the morning service on Jan. 13.

The group, representing families facing an uncertain financial future, held hands and prayed on the stage for several minutes, video from the service showed.

"Let's all stand together and go to prayer together on their behalf," Carter said before informing them they would each receive a $100 gift card to Walmart.

PHOTO: Federal workers who attend the Concord Church in Dallas were given $100 Walmart gift cards during the morning service on Jan. 13. WFAA
Federal workers who attend the Concord Church in Dallas were given $100 Walmart gift cards during the morning service on Jan. 13.

The church also offered food baskets to families in need, as well as additional information and resources on how church members could file for unemployment, according to WFAA.

An estimated 800,000 government workers throughout the country missed their paychecks on Friday. and the shutdown entered its 24th day on Monday -- the longest in American history.

Carter said the act of kindness was a matter of neighborly good will.

"They didn't get a paycheck on Friday so now they're trying to just survive," he told the station. "When our community hurts, we hurt. We believe it's important to stand up and serve during this difficult season."

PHOTO: Federal workers who attend the Concord Church in Dallas were given $100 Walmart gift cards during the morning service on Jan. 13. WFAA
Federal workers who attend the Concord Church in Dallas were given $100 Walmart gift cards during the morning service on Jan. 13.

Antecia Parker, a church member who has been working for the Department of Treasury for about 20 years, told WFAA that she had to delay moving into a new home with her family due to her unplanned lack of income.

"I've never not had a paycheck, so this is really affecting me," she said, adding that she attended the service on Sunday for comfort, not expecting the "added benefit."

On Monday, President Donald Trump blamed the extended shutdown on Democrats for not agreeing to fund his proposed border wall.

"I've been waiting all weekend," Trump tweeted Monday morning. "Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!"

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