The Good Samaritans of the Government Shutdown

Mike Johnson dishes out a Shutdown SandwichWith the government shutdown affecting more than 800,000 workers (and with seemingly no end in sight) Good Samaritans from around the country have stepped in to help furloughed workers. Here’s a look at how individuals and businesses are blending generosity, creativity, and a dash of humor to lend a helping hand to those temporarily out of a job.

More on Yahoo Shine: 7 Things You Can't Do During the Government Shutdown

Lunchtime Luck
When news of the government shutdown hit, Mike Johnson, owner of Sugarfire Smoke House in St. Louis, Missouri, created the “Shutdown Sandwich” —brisket, pork, turkey, lettuce, onion, pickles and mayonnaise on a toasted bun — and sold it for the reduced price of $3 to furloughed workers. The response was so strong that Johnson decided to give it away for free. “People were crying and saying thank you,” Johnson tells Yahoo Shine. He estimates that he’s given away 60 to 70 of the special sandwiches every day. (Not a meat eater? Sugarfire Smoke House offers a portobello sandwich for furloughed workers who want a vegetarian option.) “I am extremely fed up with our elected officials,” says Johnson, who adds that the restaurant will keep doling out free meals until the shutdown is over. “It's very upsetting to see people put out of work or the national parks being closed because [our elected officials] can't get along. I just wanted to do something to help the innocent bystanders in all this.”

Sign for the "Shutdown Sandwich" (photo: Mike Johnson) Vacation Time
At consulting firm IntelliDyne LLC, in Falls Church, Virginia, employees are donating their paid-time-off hours to furloughed government contractors. CEO Tony Crescenzo tells Yahoo Shine that within 48 hours of announcing the initiative, IntelliDyne employees had banked more than1,000 hours for its 14 employees affected by stop-work orders to government clients, which include technology specialists, computer scientists and systems engineers. To date, 50 employees and 100 percent of the executive team have donated in excess of 1500 hours — which translates to more than a month of pay and benefits for the company's furloughed workers. Says Crescenzo, "I was amazed by the swiftness and generosity of the response.”

DC area Starbucks sign (photo: twitter) Coffee Break
Customers at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill are getting a chance to put their spare change to good use. On Tuesday morning, CNBC correspondent Diana Olick tweeted a photo of the donation bin that's been set out in the store featuring a handwritten note, “If you’re furloughed or just need the help, feel free to take from the bucket. If not, please contribute for someone else. Have a great day!”

More on Yahoo Shine: The Government Shutdown and Families

Bank on It
Not typically known for their generosity, banks across the country have stepped up to help furloughed workers by offering interest-free loans, lines of credit, and even extensions on loan payments. TD Bank in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is launching the Government Payback Assistance program on Thursday, the day before the first missed pay period for federal workers. The program will allow federal employees access to up to a $1,000 credit at no cost, late-fee refunds on TD Bank Visa credit cards and mortgage assistance. “Our hope is that the program can help our customers cover necessities like grocery shopping, childcare, and monthly bills,” Ryan Bailey, executive vice president of deposit and payments for TD Bank, tells Yahoo Shine. The program is scheduled to run through Nov. 2.

A Solid Head Start
While local businesses are doing their part, Texas-based philanthropists (and billionaires) Laura and John Arnold dug deep and donated $10 million to the National Head Start Association this week. As a result, more than 7,000 kids were able to go back to school. “The Arnolds … have selflessly stepped up for Head Start children to ensure their path toward kindergarten readiness is not interrupted by the inability of government to get the nation’s fiscal house in order,” said Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association, in a press release from the organization.

Got a story of someone doing a good deed during the shutdown? Share it with us ...

More on Yahoo:

Factbox: U.S. Companies Affected by Government Shutdown

For a Cancer Patient, the Government Shutdown May Be a Matter of Life and Death