MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - As the shutdown continues, the number of people and businesses being impacted is starting to be felt across the Mid-South.
"It's bigger than a wall,” said Gibson Jones, president of Memphis National Treasury Employees Union.
For Jones, the bigger picture involves the thousands of government employees in the Mid-South impacted by the shutdown.
"I spoke to a young lady this morning about going to unemployment and what to do,” Jones said.
Jones said the government shutdown is taking a toll locally.
"I’m always one of those people that try to help any and everybody, but not being able to do anything is very disheartening to me,” Jones said.
The government shutdown is now on day 19.
WMC political analyst Michael Nelson said the shutdown can only go on so long until everyone is impacted.
"If you're federal government employee you're on the verge of not getting your next paycheck and who knows how long that'll continue,” Nelson said.
For now, Jones will continue to do what he can, but hopes the shutdown ends soon.
“Let’s get these employees back to work doing the things that they need to do in order to help the public of the United States,” Jones said. “That’s what we signed on for. That’s what we want to do.”
Fortunately, a lot of local businesses are doing their part to help government employees.
From small businesses to larger corporations, people from all over the Mid-South are coming together to help those impacted by the government shutdown.
Chef Sean Gilliam uses his hands to perfect his craft. The longtime chef has his own catering business and food truck based in Memphis.
After the government shutdown started, Gilliam decided to use his craft to help employees out of work.
"I decided to put my hands to work and do what little I can,” Gilliam said.
Gilliam has been cooking and delivering meals to local government employees affected by the shutdown.
"There have been multiple single mothers, two to three kids so far that I’ve run into that just need help,” Gilliam said.
Other businesses and corporations are doing the same. Downtown Yoga in Memphis is offering free classes to government employees hoping to relieve some stress.
MLGW is helping furloughed government employees through its Hardship Policy, allowing customers dealing with financial hardship to avoid having their services stopped.
Back in the kitchen, Gilliam wants to encourage everyone to do what they can to help the thousands of government employees unsure of what’s next.
“If we can get Memphis involved, then we can take care of our own,” Gilliam said. “We can do this.”