Furloughed federal worker using time away from work to help others

Furloughed federal worker using time away from work to help others

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The partial government shutdown has now lasted for more than a month. It’s been a month of uncertainty for a federal employee from Pass Christian Marilyn Rivas who hasn’t been working.

“It’s not comfortable. It’s not a comfortable feeling at all,” Rivas said.

Unless the government shutdown is resolved by the end of this week, Rivas who works for the Department of Agriculture based out of Michoud in New Orleans will miss a second straight paycheck which is forcing her to make cutbacks where she can.

"You just have to dig down and think smart and hard about what you're spending because it's not always there," said Rivas.

 (Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX)

Even though the furlough isn't something she planned on, Rivas is making the most of it. She's turning her time away from work into a blessing for others. A regular volunteer for CASA of Hancock County, Rivas is able to spend more time helping children in need.

“My time off is definitely giving them a leg up on what I would have ordinarily been able to accomplish with an eight hour job and a two hour commute every day,” she said.

Stepping up with more volunteer hours for CASA isn’t where Rivas' service stops. After seeing a WLOX report on Lynda Favre asking for donations to deliver to homeless people, Rivas said she immediately reached out to Favre and offered to cook meals for the homeless.

“If you can do what you can to feed them, to make them smile on a day that they may not otherwise have any reason to, you should give it to them,” Rivas said.

While the government shutdown debate continues in Washington, Rivas will continue serving others, but she does need to go back to work and has a message for lawmakers.

“If you just put me back to work and hash out that other stuff later on that would help not only me, but 800,000 other employees who are in my same position,” she said.

Rivas hopes others will follow her lead of volunteering and offering help to those in need.

For more information on volunteering for CASA of Hancock County and the organization’s annual Mardi Gras Gala, visit here.

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