Local families affected by gov. shutdown speak out as they begin to feel financial strain
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH)- Thousands of federal workers are going without a paycheck Friday as a result of the government shutdown.
If no deal is reached, it could become the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
Some Oklahomans reached out to FOX 25 Friday to talk about how the shutdown is affecting them and what sacrifices they're beginning to make to survive.
"There’s 800,000 federal employees that are not working. 800,000 families. You know? That’s a lot of people," said Kathryn Luedke, a federal contractor.
Luedke said she got the news on New Year's Eve.
"On Dec. 31, New Year's Eve, I went into work and at 10 o'clock we got the email that says “cease work now," said Luedke. "We really didn’t think it was going to happen."
Lacy Chase said it was the day after Christmas when she found out she would be furloughed from her job as a remote pilot operator.
"At that point they said it was indefinite stoppage and we went on our way and haven’t been back since," said Chase.
Luedke told FOX 25 she already had to pawn her wedding ring and other family heirlooms to help pay the bills.
"I had to pawn my mother's ring just to get groceries. Just to get groceries," said Luedke.
She said her biggest concern is the thought of possibly going without her medications.
"We owed 1$66 to my doctor. She wouldn’t refill the prescriptions until bills were paid. There are blood pressure pills, heart pills, potassium pills, insulin. I stocked up, but they would only give me enough to last through the 31st," said Luedke.
Luedke said she got approved for unemployment and her husband is on disability, but it's still not enough to pay the bills.
"Our bills are much more than that," said Luedke.
Luedke said they may have to start going to food banks.
"It’s stressful, very stressful. My main concern is my medicine," said Luedke, "But, my house payment is due, my car payment's due. The insurance is due. Forget food. You know?"
Chase lives in Washington, Oklahoma and said she's thankful her children's school gave her family gift cards for groceries.
"I had a conversation with my son, taking him to school today, and he's says, 'Why are they giving you money?' He was so embarrassed because it's his school. And I said, "I'm sorry dude, this is just where we're at,'" said Chase.
Chase said her husband went into heart failure in September after he was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder.
"He caught a virus that went straight to his heart and it attacked it. He’s on five, six different medications," said Chase.
Chase said her family exhausted their savings from that and then not long after, she was furloughed.
"We live in a great community. They basically carried us through Christmas. They helped us with gift cards for groceries and stuff. They’ve been awesome," said Chase.
But Chase said they're beginning to feel the financial strain as the shutdown hits day 21.
"I still have an electric bill, the rent. We paid rent Tuesday, I think, and we have $15 left," said Chase.
President Donald Trump said Friday, "A bill was just passed, which I will sign, in Congress, making sure that everybody's going to be paid immediately upon ... when this is over. But I just really appreciate the fact that they have handled it so incredibly well. And many of them agree with what we're doing."
If the shutdown continues through Saturday, it will be the longest government shutdown in history.
Luedke set up a Go Fund Me account for help.