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The “Love Thy Neighbor” Campaign: A Plan to Support “Shutdown” Federal Workers in Tallahassee

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By Reverend RB Holmes Pastor, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Chairperson Neighbor Task Force

      A special Task Force comprised of civic, business, professional and faith-based leaders has organized to ad-dress the plight of hundreds of families in Tallahassee, Fla, who are being heavily impacted by the partial government shutdown. Tallahassee, this is a clarion call for “Hope, Help, Healing, and Harmony!”  The duration of the present government shutdown has far surpassed our original expectations.   This shutdown is the longest stoppage in the history of this great country.

Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are now focused on the hundreds of workers, and exponentially, their families, and this community at large.  Tallahassee, we must have a positive burden to turn the pain of our collective histories into a positive movement to unite our communities.

I want to recognize and acknowledge the many faith leaders, civic organizations, and community leaders who have stepped up to support the federal workers in Tallahassee who are struggling with the daily vicissitudes of financial, emotional and even spiritual needs.  We applaud the leadership of Mayor John Dailey, Rabbi W.J. Romberg (Temple Israel), Pastor Brant Copeland (First Presbyterian), Sue Dick (Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce), Rick Minor (Second Harvest of the Big Bend), Katrina Rolle (United Way), Dr. Larry Robinson (Florida A&M University), Kenneth Pratt (Florida Bankers Association), Roy Moore (Piggy Wiggly), Rev. Greg James (Life Church International Center) and many others who are leading and coordinating this joint effort. We realize that there are many initiatives that are supporting the workers at this time. The purpose of this “Love Thy Neighbor” Task Force is to provide a coordinated effort between and among the key agencies in Tallahassee to provide a seamless support network for the “shutdown” workers and their families.

Here are the Task Force’s five focus areas:

  1. Assistance with utilities for federal workers until the government is reopened
  2. Assistance with mortgages and car notes until the government is reopened
  3. Work with pharmaceutical companies to provide free medicine or medication at a reasonable discount until government is reopened
  4. Provide support for student fees and tuition for federal workers and family members until government is reopened
  5. Help federal workers with rent, food, clothing, transportation, and basic needs until government is reopened

A major part of this “Love Thy Neighbor” Campaign is to generate funds to supplement the income of the federal workers who have not received paychecks in over a month.  Our goal is to raise $100,000 for these families in the next 90 days.  The United Way, led by Ms. Katrina Rolle, will receive donations from individuals and corporations.  They will also distribute the funds to eligible individuals and families.  Checks should be written to “United Way of the Big Bend” with the notation on check: Love Thy Neighbor.  The mailing address for The United Way is: 307 East 7th Avenue, Tallahassee, FL, 32303 – Phone: 850-414-0844.

Finally, as we call for “Hope, Help, Healing and Harmony,” we are inviting the entire Tallahassee community and the federal workers and their families to come together in a special “Love Thy Neighbor Community Engagement and Support Worship Service” to be held Sunday, February 10, 2019, 3:30 PM at First Presbyterian Church located at 110 N. Adams St., hosted by Rev. Brant Copeland, Pastor.  Citizens are encouraged to attend and bring special donations (i.e., gift cards, donations, etc.)

Tallahassee, there is absolutely more to unite us than to divide us.  There may be a “shutdown”, but we will not “shut out” our compassion and support for our neighbors.  Please join us in answering the call for “Hope, Help, Healing and Harmony!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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