Courtesy of Glens Garden Markets Garden Market

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Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont Circle has launched a pay-it-forward program to help furloughed federal employees purchase groceries. Anyone can buy a $5 gift card to the market at check out, which cashiers can then pass on to those shutdown-impacted individuals who present a government ID. 

“As a former employee of the federal government, who knows how hard it was to make ends meet under the best of circumstances, my heart truly goes out to the public servants who are being hung out to dry with this shutdown,” says Glen’s owner Danielle Vogel. “Now, as a community grocer, it was a no brainer to jump in and help out the best way we know how—making sure our furloughed friends can still eat well in the worst of times.”

Back on Jan. 6, federal employees and contractors already reported changes in their dining and grocery habits. That was before they missed a paycheck on Jan. 11, which further exacerbated their challenges. 

Vogel says Glen’s has sold 12 gift cards since the program launched yesterday afternoon. That’s in addition to the 20 initial gift cards that Glen’s footed the bill for to get the initiative off the ground. Cashier Nate Ferguson sold two of the 12 gift cards.

“It’s been an awesome response,” he says. “I can see the enthusiasm in their eyes in helping give back to the community in a way they haven’t been able to give back.” Personally, he says, “Just to be able to be in an environment where our owner is as gracious as she is inspires me.” 

The gift card program will be in place so long as the government shutdown is in effect. It’s now day 25. 

Glen’s Garden Market, 2001 S St. NW; (202) 588-5698; glensgardenmarket.com