Shutdown Not Shutout: Companies Helping Government Workers

With the government shutdown lasting a record breaking total of 35 days, federal workers are going on over a month with no pay. Here is a list of companies that are giving free food and services to those affected by this lockdown.

There are over 800,000 federal employees are going without pay and over 380,000  have been furloughed, which is a forced unpaid leave. Many of these people are still working their current jobs, simply without receiving their normal paycheck. Those whom are reliant on their weekly paychecks are really feeling the pain of this shutdown, forcing some to sell personal belongings, set up GoFundMe accounts and get loans with interests rates up to 48% just to gain immediate assistance. Luckily, there are some companies who decided to step up when the government stepped down.

There is a high concentration of federal workers in Washington, D.C. and here is where many companies are giving a large variety of aid. Last week Kraft Heinz opened a pop-up store where federal workers affected could stop in to pick up free items such as their mac n cheese noodles, free meals and cheese. Activist chef Jose Andres opened an emergency kitchen located in D.C. with his humanitarian organization, World Central Kitchen, and is giving free meals to the federal workers. Andres has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for is work in Puerto Rico after doing more to feed the survivors than any government or non-government agency! The World Central Kitchen also paired with the pizza company &pizza to offer free pizza to furloughed workers during lunchtime at Broccoli Bar in D.C.

If you are a federal worker that is NOT located in D.C. there is still hope! Businesses and chains all over the country are giving out assistance. Sweetgreen is giving complimentary salads with your federal ID, Potbelly Sandwich Shop is also giving federal workers BOGO entrees nationwide. On Tuesday January 29th, White Castle will be serving free meals to all federal workers. Many Subway stores and Great Harvest bakeries are participating in free food service as well. Check your local restaurants to see if there are options for free food near you!

If it is not food you are worried about, many other companies are waiving fees and deferring payments to give federal workers some time to get back on their feet. Cell phone companies such as T-mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are waiving all late fees and even allowing payment plans for those affected. Banks such as Chase, Citi, American Express and Capital One are also waiving all late fees for credit cards and giving other options for federal workers. Some car companies such as Hyundai are deferring loan-and-lease payments owed by out-of-pay workers for a whole month.

On top of getting help with bills, Airbnb is hosting “A Night on Us,” where federal workers who host an Airbnb Experience or Airbnb renter for three nights will receive an extra $110! If you are looking for fun things to pass the time of no-pay, SkyZone is offering free hour long jumps from Tuesday to Thursday while places such as the Florida Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, Museums in NYC, and planetariums in Chicago are offering free admission! Fun websites such as are giving federal employees free beer across the country and if you are not one whom is furloughed, you can donate a beer for $7.50 to pay it forward.

Large companies such as Walmart have already donated $300,000 to programs that provide assistance such as Feeding Americans Shutdown Response Fund, the Coast Guard Foundation, and United Way’s United for U.S. Fund. While Tyson Food has donated over 8 metric tons of food to federal based workers.

Now is a time where Americans are coming together to help one another out. Although the issues may not affect everyone, it is important to realize that these workers help make the world as we know it go around. The generosity during this shutdown has greatly shown through the abundance of goods and services that are currently being offered to those affected. The aid that is listed here is just a fraction of what can be available for you. Be sure to check local news and businesses to find out the assistance near you.

Although the shutdown is temporarily lifted, the recovery process is going to be just as difficult as the initial issue. There is no certainty that the president won’t post another shutdown, so it is important to stay cautious and plan accordingly. If you are not one affected by this shutdown, it can be generous to provide aid such as volunteer work or personal assistance for friends and family who have been. As the current state of our country is tampered and uncertain, if we all stand together and help thy neighbor, we can prove our strength and patriotism for all.