Free meals and clothes offered to furloughed federal workers in Bay Area, around U.S.

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As the partial government shutdown entered its 26th day on Wednesday, communities around the country, including the Bay Area, stepped up to help federal workers who have worked without a paycheck for the last month. 

Plus, other workers felt forced to begin picking up odd jobs and renting out their homes just to make ends meet during the longest shutdown in U.S. history. 

On Wednesday, the East Bay Coast Guard Spouses' Club was handing out groceries to affected families in Alameda, following a similar weekend event. And in San Francisco, Lefty O'Doul's New Fisherman's Wharf Baseball Ballpark & Café at 145 Jefferson Street was offering furloughed federal employees and their families free buffet lunches and dinners every day until the shutdown ends.  Workers simply need to arrive with a federal ID.

"President Trump has stopped the paychecks from 800,000 innocent workers who are struggling to make ends meet," said owner Nick Bovis, who isn't shy to show is left-leaning political stripes. "Lefty's cannot stop the madness, but we sure can feed our friends and neighbors for the duration."

In addition to the community donations, other federal workers around the country began finding other ways to pay the bills, largely finding new income through the gig economy.

For instance, Cheryl Inzunza Blum, a contract immigration lawyer in federal court, sought out a side job that has become a popular option in the current economy: She rented out a room on Airbnb.

And Chris George, 48, of Hemet, California, furloughed from his job as a forestry technician supervisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture forest service, started driving for Lyft. He averages about $10 for every hour he drives.

He just got word that he'll be getting $450 in weekly unemployment benefits, but hadn't received any money as of Monday. In the meantime, he's taking handyman or other odd jobs wherever he can.

"I've just been doing side jobs when they come along," he told the Associated Press this week. "I had two last week, and I don't know what this week's going to bring."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.