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Fighting through the furlough: Billings business impacted, donations being collected

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:50:22-04

BILLINGS- As the government shutdown enters another day, furloughed workers in Billings continue to struggle with no paycheck in sight.

However, those living in Billings are stepping up, collecting food for those impacted by the shutdown.

Billings Realtor Rachel Court is helping to collect non-perishable items to help furloughed families fill their empty cupboards.

“It’s frightening for families,” said Court.

Court is an agent at Coldwell Banker in Billings and said there are collection bins at their location in Billings as well as a house in the Heights.

Others can help by dropping off canned and dried foods at 1215 24th St. W. at their office and in the Heights at a Coldwell Banker home on 3901 Bar Eleven Dr., said Court.

Those donations are then given to Family Services in Billings, where food boxes will be made and delivered to furloughed families.

Court is hoping people will donate.

“Often times food, your nutrition gets put on the back burner, and when you are buying things like diapers and medications and other things that are very necessary,” she said.

The government shut down isn’t only impacting furloughed workers. Billings businesses that depend on federal workers are also feeling the pinch.

Sarah’s Mexican Restaurant on North 29th Street in downtown Billings has seen a decrease in customers since the shutdown began five weeks ago.

During the middle of the day, the restaurant usually handles a flow of customers from the federal building next door for its lunchtime rush. Usually, the owners say there is a line out the door.

However, Wednesday, the restaurant was quieter than usual.

“Usually at this time it’s real busy, and right now it’s slower volume going,” said owner Luis Moran.

Moran said since the shutdown his business has seen a 40 to 50 percent decrease in business.

“But we are still hanging on and doing the best we can and doing more promotional stuff,” he said.

In light of the loss in revenue to their business, Moran said the business will likely have to step up their advertising and social presence and offer customers deals on food to regain lost profits.