As the United States government shutdown drags on, becoming the longest in history, federal workers and their families forced to live without pay are struggling to get by. While many amazing, generous organizations and individuals are stepping in to help the humans, animal shelters are also contributing by giving away free pet food to those in need.

Around 800,000 federal employees are feeling the effects of the now month-long shutdown; an estimated 380,000 have been furloughed without pay and the remaining essential employees are required to work with no sign of a salary.

Animal welfare organizations and shelters are concerned that some families may be forced to surrender their pets due to lack of money, so they are opening up their food pantries and providing what they can.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is one such shelter. Located in Washington where the majority of the federal workers live, they are accepting donations for cats, dogs, rabbits, and other domestic animals.

Usually, free food is provided only for those in dire need, but federal employees are now welcome to come in and receive free supplies with no questions asked so their beloved pets can remain in the family home.

“We are one of many area shelters opening our pet food pantry to furloughed federal workers,” said the League on a Facebook post. “Check with your local shelter to see what they offer for pet owners in need. Alexandria city residents are welcome to stop by our shelter during business hours to pick up food from our pantry, so please help us share the word to any of our neighbors in need!”

As the shutdown continues with no end in sight, affecting people and animals throughout the country, shelters are asking for donations of pet food, toys and, blankets to support the animal guardians that are struggling.