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‘Down to my last $20’: KC single mom doing her best to survive during shutdown

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- We're now 32 days into the partial government shutdown.

On Tuesday, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and Sharice Davids announced that, together, they're asking banks to work with furloughed employees and offer short terms loans and other agreements. They also reached out to utility companies and asked them to offer relief.

There could be an end to the shutdown in sight though. The Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on two bills that would reopen the government.

But if one of those bills doesn't get Congress' approval, furloughed employees like Danielle Schmidt will miss their second paycheck this Friday.

To pay her bills during the shutdown, Schmidt is training for a new part-time job at Waldo Pizza. The single mom and needs a paycheck for herself and her three daughters.

"I am literally down to my last $20 that I have for gas, groceries, everything," Schmidt said.

That money came to her through a donation from another furloughed worker. For the last decade, Schmidt has worked for the federal government. She didn't expect the shutdown to last this long.

"She says her situation isn't as hard as mine," Schmidt said. "I'm the kind of person who will and wants to pay her back when I can."

Schmidt got the job at Waldo Pizza through a Facebook post. She asked about opportunities for furloughed employees. She's been training on phones and hosting since last Friday.

Strangers who saw the post donated food and necessities to Schmidt and her three girls. She's thankful for all the help, but is still stressed by her financial situation.

"The whole experience has been very humiliating," Schmidt said. "To be in this situation and to not be able to provide for my kids now when I've worked so hard to build the life that we have for them, and to have it all the sudden just completely taken away."

Leaders from Kansas and Missouri spoke out Tuesday, asking the community come together to help furloughed federal employees like Schmidt.

Community America Credit Union announced its plan of action.

"We're doing loan extensions. We're doing zero percent emergency loans," Rick Schier with Community America Credit Union said. "In some cases, we are extending credit limits."

Schmidt doesn't bank with Community America but said a loan isn't something she would do.

"I'll just be farther behind," Schmidt said. "I would just rather not do the loan."

She'll continue working at Waldo Pizza until the government reopens.

"I'm very lucky that my girls and I are healthy," Schmidt said. "I really couldn't ask for anything more than that."

Schmidt said Waldo Pizza is the perfect location for her because she can walk there and conserve gas to take her daughters to and from school.

KCP&L and KC Water are helping furloughed employees like Schmidt.

If furloughed employees contact KC Water and share their status, they won't be expected to pay your bill during the shutdown. Federal employees interested in delaying payment can submit a request contact KC Water Customer Service at 816-513-1313.

KCP&L will waive late fees for furloughed employees. They won't shut off service if you can't pay, and if you contact them, they will work with you on a payment plan. You can reach them at 816-471-5275 or toll-free at 1-888-471-5275 for KCP&L or 1-800-383-1181 for Westar.

Spire sent FOX4 this statement:

"At Spire, we are already working with furloughed federal employees and contractors as they navigate this difficult time. We encourage anyone in this situation to call Spire if they are struggling with their monthly bill. Our customer experience team will work to find a solution for each customer. We can work to find qualified federal, state or local funds as well as offer alternative payment plans based on each customer’s need."

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