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Federal workers share stresses of 'desperate' time amid government shutdown

Posted at 5:06 PM, Jan 14, 2019

(SAN DIEGO) KGTV - At an event supporting their pets, federal workers shared the stresses of a 'desperate' time amid the continuing government shutdown.

Rebecca Palma has never felt so good getting dog food for Evie, her 3-year-old Shih Tzu.

"It's a big blessing. It saves us a lot of money. Now at least my dog can eat for a month," Palma said.

At one of three pet food and toy giveaways held by the San Diego Humane Society for federal workers, Palma and others left with one less expense. The food was donated as part of the PAWS program, which helps low-income pet owners.

Right now, it's zero income for Palma, a single mom and furloughed secretary for the IRS. She has just enough to cover this month's rent. She applied for unemployment but was told there is a backlog from all the requests.

"I'm good, but I don't know about next month. It's that uncertainty which is really hard," said Palma.

The uncertainty is also weighing on Mary Wiggins, part of the support staff in the US Attorney's office. She is furloughed.

"I worry about everything. I can't sleep. Trying to keep my kids calm, because they're very worried about it," said Wiggins.

Wiggins was able to make her mortgage payment this month. She doesn't have enough for gas or food.

"Thinking about going to the food pantries if I have to. It's going to come down to that. Never thought I'd be anywhere near that. I hope the government can come together and get this done and over with. Be reasonable. I just want it done," said Wiggins.

"I pray government stops holding federal workers hostage because that is what they're doing," said Palma.