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Families feeling impact of government shutdown: 'I live with tears in my eyes all day every day'

Hear how the ongoing shutdown is impacting one family and how the community is coming together to help.

Posted: Jan 10, 2019 8:03 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2019 9:37 AM

Caitlin's Story

It’s day 20 of the partial federal government shutdown, which means it’s day 20 for the 416 employees working without pay at the Federal Medical Center, a prison in Rochester.

Caitlin Matera’s husband, Zach, is one of those employees.

“This is a prison, you don't want them not going to work,” she said. “He constantly keeps his chin up, does his duty and goes to work every day.”

As a single-income family, she said they’re feeling the weight of this shut down.

“We've lived through a couple of shutdowns before, and I'm angry every time it happens,” Matera said. “We have to pay our bills and we have to do our budgeting, and we should not have to bear the burden of someone else's argument on all of our backs.”

The shutdown is changing the way Matera lives. She said she can no longer get a cup of coffee or afford to take her daughters to the movies.

“It's now become a balancing game of even the little items which has become increasingly stressful and hard to figure out,” she said.

But the hardest part of all of this, is a feeling she can’t shake, and lives with every day.

“The uncertainty, uncertainty. I live with tears in my eyes all day every day. I don't know how much help to ask for, I don't know when this will end. I don’t even know simple solutions. I don’t know answers,” Matera said.

Without answers, Matera is unsure of how to go on.

“We have finally started accepting help from our friends, which is humbling,” she said. “Friends and family that are going out of their way, and I'm so filled with gratitude.”

How You Can Help

Donation bins for families impacted by the shutdown will be at the VFW and Girl Scouts River Valley store.

People can donate non-perishable foods, personal care items, and baby diapers or wipes.

The bins will be out as long as the shutdown continues.

The volunteer group, Caring Acts of Kindness Everywhere, also known as CAKE, is holding a Donation Drive on Saturday, January 12 from 10am-1pm.

People can bring non-perishable foods to the drive at either 125 Live or Christ United Methodist Church.

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