LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Valley groups came together to help local federal workers who were impacted by the shutdown.
Forest Williams organized a free picnic for workers and their families on Saturday at Sunset Park. Hundreds came out to enjoy the day and thank the community for thinking of them.
Haircuts, a picnic lunch and games for the kids: “It’s hard to do things as a family when you’ve got no money coming in,” Williams said. “We have hamburgers and hot dogs, chips, water chocolate milk.”
Williams said he paid for all of the food out of his own pocket.
“One woman said she almost didn’t come because she didn’t have enough money to put gas in her car to get here,” he said. “That just breaks my heart.”
He wanted to find a way to not only help federal workers, but also their families.
“They still won’t get a paycheck for several days,” Williams said. “So for them to be able to come out and not have to spend a dollar out of their pocket for a full day of carnival fun, that’s really what this was all about.”
One of those families is Amy Liburd, her husband and their four kids.
“When everything falls in my lap, how do you pay everything?” she said.
Amy’s husband is a federal worker, who thought he was signing up for a steady job.
“Nobody was prepared for the shutdown so when it was so abrupt, everybody kind of scrambled,” she said.
Right after the holidays, Liburd said the family felt the strain of one less paycheck.
“The uncertainty, the insecurity as a family, what do you do with four kids?” she said. “How do I start conserving for utilities, food, clothing?”
The family used to enjoy a simple dinner out on Friday nights.
“Just last night the kids go, ‘Can we go to Taco Bell?’” Liburd said. “And I had to tell them, ‘No, we can’t go to Taco Bell. We can’t afford it.’”
So they said this picnic is a treat for the entire family.
“It’s just nice to bring your kids, let them have fun,” Liburd said. “I don’t have to enjoy cooking. The kids are fed, we had a great day. It’s just a great relief.”
While the shutdown is over temporarily, families like Amy’s hope those in Washington will remember them the next time negotiations come around.
“We’re not asking for handouts, we’re just asking to go to work,” Liburd said. “For government employees we will always remember this. Just understand that we are Americans too and to hold government employees hostage. It’s just not fair.”
All of the leftover food didn’t go to waste. Some families packed up boxes of snacks to take home. Organizers donated the rest to local food banks.