STONECREST - The partial government shutdown continues and many federal workers haven't been paid in weeks, so a local church stepped in to help its members who have been impacted.
Church members at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church were able to raise enough money to give fellow members affected by the government shutdown nearly $300 each in cash.
Pastor Dr. Jamal Bryant, who joined the church in December as the new senior pastor, said he felt he and his congregation had a responsibility to help those in need. He said 30 people went to the altar Sunday, Jan. 6 seeking aid.
“When the government shuts down is when the church needs to be wide open,” Bryant said. "When I originally brought them down, I was just going to pray for them."
But the pastor said God spoke to him and asked him to do more.
"I ain't waiting on the Democrats or the Republicans," Bryant said.
The pastor asked members to dig in their pockets and give to those not getting paid.
"I was absolutely blown away. I've only been in here a month. I had no idea that compassion was this high in Atlanta," Bryant said.
Now the pastor is looking at other ways to help those affected by the shutdown.
"Whether or not we can do potluck dinners for families to be able to come -- gift cards to grocery stores," Bryant said.
He said there are more people in need based on the comments he got from those who missed the service.
"You can't imagine how many people said, 'Oh I missed last Sunday. Are y'all going to do it again?'" Bryant said.
Bryant said his team is looking at ways to help members on an ongoing basis until the shutdown ends. He said it's the church's job to help those in need.
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