The U.S. Senate Monday paved the way for an end to the partial federal government shutdown, which began midnight Friday amid an impasse over immigration policy.

One area nonprofit that has been closely monitoring the situation is the South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind.

The organization helps those who are visually impaired work to manufacture quality products. It turns out one of their biggest customers is the U.S. government.

John Medina is visually impaired, having lost 70-percent of his vision; but that is not stopping him from earning a living.

"I've been operating the table for two-and-a-half years already," Medina said.

Medina is able to be an active member of the workforce thanks to the South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind.

"It gives us a sense of purpose," Medina said. "Come to work instead of depending on government assistance. We can come and work and make that extra money we can make."

The nonprofit provides employment for people who are visually impaired, giving them the tools and the training they need for good paying jobs and benefits. At their workshop off Agnes, employees make various items -- things like toilet paper that is used in our jails and even office supplies like binders.

"We make 350 different variety of binders," Medina said.

Binders that are sold to the federal government.

In fact, Alana Manrow of the Lighthouse for the Blind said 60-percent of the products the nonprofit sells are contracted by the federal government or bought by government employees on military bases.

"We actually operate six retail stores so when the government shuts down, we are not getting customers coming in and buying our office products," Manrow said. "That is kind of scary for us."

Which is why the nonprofit was closely monitoring the situation. They are now happy to hear the Senate was able to vote on a plan to fund the government through Feb. 8.

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