Protesters rally outside Rep. Zeldin's office, call for end to shutdown

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PATCHOGUE -

Protesters rallied Thursday outside Republican U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin's Patchogue office, calling for an end to the federal government shutdown that is now nearing a month in length.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees remain out of work or are working without pay. And with no end in sight to the shutdown, more and more Long Islanders are struggling to make ends meet.

Island Harvest President Randi Shubin Dresner says her agency has seen an increase in federal employees asking for help over the past few weeks.

Numerous Long Island groups and organizations are banning together to help ease the financial burden of federal workers impacted by the government shutdown. Emergency food services, help paying energy bills and temporary loan forgiveness were among some of the programs announced at a news conference Thursday at Island Harvest.

"We hear that people make hard decisions, or what we call trade-offs, when money is tight," says Shubin. "So if we can help people with food, they can use whatever little resource is left and redirect it to some of those other important things like other bills."

The president and CEO of Teachers Federal Credit Union says the company emailed members who have loans, credit cards and mortgages with them, encouraging those people to reach out to see what kind of help for which they might be eligible.

PSEG Long Island is telling customers to call in and see if they qualify for programs that can help with heating bills.

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