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Companies lend hand to Arizonans affected by government shutdown

People wait in line at Chef Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen for free meals to workers effected by the government shutdown in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. Andres opened his World Central Kitchen feeding site on Pennsylvania Ave., to provide food to furloughed workers and their families. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

PHOENIX — Some national companies are lending a hand to Arizonans who have been impacted by the ongoing partial government shutdown.

Hospitality company Airbnb announced Wednesday — the 26th day of the shutdown — that it started a program to give extra money to federal employees in Arizona.

Workers who hosted guests for three-plus nights between Dec. 18 and March 18 will get up to $110 from the company through the A Night on Us program.

The company estimates that four percent of its hosts in Arizona work in government, but did not specify whether that was federal or state.

Cox Communications also announced Wednesday that it will extend payment deadlines for employees who can’t pay their bill due to the shutdown.

Arizonans can contact customer service representatives either online or over the phone to request the extension without losing service.

A handful of local companies have also reached out to Arizonans in an effort to fill their bellies while President Donald Trump and Congress go back and forth over funding for a proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Phoenix-based St. Mary’s Food Bank has given free groceries to Grand Canyon National Park, Transportation Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration workers this month.

The group will also offer food this week to more than 1,200 workers at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center.

RigaTony’s Authentic Italian Restaurant near Warner Road and McClintock Drive in Tempe is also offering free meals to federal workers who are out of work because of the shutdown.

Riot Hospitality Group, which has restaurants across the Valley, will offer a free entree to any government workers until Sunday.

The shutdown has been in place since Dec. 22 as Trump and Congress wrangle over his demand for the $5.7 billion he has said is needed to build the wall and secure the border.

Nearly 1 million government employees and contractors aren’t being paid. Many federal parks have also been closed and airport employees are calling out of work, causing delays.

A recent KTAR News/OH Predictive Insights poll found that nearly 46 percent of Arizonans do not support the move to shutdown the government, while 31 percent said they supported it.

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