Affected by the Gov’t Shutdown? Get Free Meals & More!

(Last Updated On: January 22, 2019)

As the 2019 government shutdown sets records for the longest-ever government shutdown, many organizations and companies are stepping up to help the furloughed federal employees who are not getting paid during this time.

If your family has been furloughed during the shutdown, here’s what we’ve found!

There are many companies offering nationwide help.

From free meals to free movie tickets, we’ve found some great deals!

This section is dedicated to deals that are available in multiple states – for more deals like this, view the state-by-state section below!

Free Meals

Fazoli’s is offering a free Pizza Baked Spaghetti to all furloughed federal government employees. You will need to have a valid ID to redeem this offer.

Hopdoddy is offering a free meal on January 23! Affected federal workers can enjoy a burger, fries and non-alcoholic beverage for free.

Michael’s Sourdough Sandwiches are offering free sandwiches to all Coast Guard members throughout the shutdown. This applies to all locations.

Modern Market Eatery is offering a free grain bowl to federal employees during certain hours. They have locations in Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Texas and DC.

Potbelly is offering a buy-one-get-one deal for all federal employees with their ID.

Rock & Brews invites TSA workers to enjoy either a Pulled Pork Sandwich or Strawberry Fields Salad during the shutdown.

Free Diapers

There are a few services that can assist with diapers throughout the shutdown. These include:

Help with Bills

Many service providers and financial institutions are offering assistance.

Utility Companies

Utility companies may be willing to work with you, if you provide proof that your income is impacted by the shutdown. For example, Memphis Light, Gas and Water has announced that all affected workers can apply for their Hardship Policy and avoid an interruption in service by calling the company.

Banks & Credit Unions

Bank of America is offering a special hardship assistance program for those who are affected by the government shutdown. Call (844) 219-0690 for assistance.

Chase Bank offers special hardship programs for those who either work for or do business with the federal government. Call (888) 356-0023 for assistance.

Congressional Federal Credit Union offers an interest-free “Relief Line of Credit” for those who are furloughed or working without pay. The credit must be repaid in 60 days.

Discover customers may be able to skip payments, waive late fees or have interest charges reversed if they miss a payment due to the shutdown. Call (800) 347-2683 for details.

FedChoice, the Federal Credit Union, has a Furlough Center with special options for those affected. They may waive your initial deposit and withdrawal penalties, grant early access to funds and even offer furlough loans.

Navy Federal Credit Union offers interest-free loans for those who are impacted and have direct deposit already set up. These loans can cover the amount of your direct deposit so that you don’t have to worry about your income during the shutdown.

PayPal is offering $500 in interest-free PayPal Credit to federal workers who are impacted by theshutdown.

Synchrony Bank manages store cards for Old Navy, Lowes, Amazon and others. They are allowing affected customers to defer payments until after the shutdown.

US Bank offers affordable low-rate short-term loans for those affected by the shutdown. You may qualify if you have any US Bank product, including a mortgage, auto loan, or US Bank credit card. Just call (877) 760-6046.

US Employees Credit Union assists their customers who receive direct deposits. You may be able to receive an interest-free Government Shut Down Loan. Watch out, though – the loan must be paid within 60 days or whenever the government process backpay, whichever is sooner.

Washington Federal offers interest-free, 90-day loans for up to six missed paychecks. The program is available in all states where Washington Federal operates, including Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon Texas, Utah and Washington.

Wells Fargo has pledged to work with those who are missing income because of the shutdown. Customers should call 1-800-TO-WELLS for help.

Cell Phone Providers

AT&T is offering flexible payment arrangements, late-fee waivers and other assistance to those who are going unpaid during the government shutdown.

Community Phone is offering $100 in free service credit to all no-contract plans.

Sprint encourages affected customers to call (888) 211-4727 to discuss their options.

T-Mobile is offering flexible payment arrangements, payment deferral and more to affected account-holders.

Verizon has announced that they are offering flexible payment options to ensure affected workers can keep their service connected. They are also waiving all late fees and agent assist fees for affected accounts.

Free Entertainment

Harlem Globetrotters are offering free tickets to furloughed federal workers. Each employee can receive two free tickets to the Globetrotter’s 2019 Fan Powered World Tour. Tickets will be distributed until the end of the partial shutdown.

Kings Dining & Entertainment is offering two free games and shoe rentals to those with government ID. The deal is only valid before 6pm, Monday through Thursday. They have locations in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Tennessee. You must mention the promotion to receive it.

Rosetta Stone is offering a free three-month subscription to their language learning service. If you’re a furloughed federal employee, you can claim yours by emailing name and validation to [email protected]

SkyZone invites federal government workers and their families to jump for free! This nationwide trampoline park franchise is providing free 60-minute passes for federal workersand up to three immediate family members on Tuesdays and Thursdays until January 31.

YMCA is offering free admission and sometimes even free memberships to affected workers and their families. Check with your nearest location to see what’s available!

You may be able to get additional help in your state!

Communities around the US are coming together to support the individuals and families who have been affected by the shutdown. Some of the best deals can be found in your local communities!

This list is organized alphabetically, by state, to help you find what is available in your area. However, the finished list was over 7,500 words long so we divided it into three posts. You’ll find Alabama – Hawaii in this post. For Idaho through North Dakota, click here. This third post contains the information for Ohio through Wyoming. 

If you know of anything we missed, please let us know in a comment so we can add it to this list.


Farm Burger has a shutdown special for affected employees. Every Friday during the shutdown, affected workers can receive a free chicken burger, fries and iced tea.

Salaya’s Biscuits and PoBoys is offering a free lunch to unpaid federal employees. You can even bring a guest, who will also enjoy a free meal!

Get more freebies and deals in Alabama here!


Anchorage Museum is offering free admission for federal employees who are furloughed or working without pay.

AnchorRIDES is providing free transit to furloughed workers with valid government ID. This lasts until the shutdown ends.

Bistro Red Beet in Wasilla provides free cookies and coffee for affected federal employees.

Body Renew Alaska is offering free access for affected federal employees. You can work out for free at any of their locations during the shutdown if you’re an affected federal employee!

ENSTAR is offering bill assistance for affected federal employees.

Fairbanks Children’s Museum is offering free admission for furloughed employees and their families until the shutdown ends.

Kaladi Brothers Coffee provides free coffee and refills to all out-of-work federal employees.

Odom Corp is offering two free cases of Coke to furloughed workers. Just show your federal ID at the Coca Cola Bottling of Alaska building at 6300 Changepoint Drive in Anchorage!

University of Alaska Museum of the North is offering free admission to those impacted by the shutdown. Furloughed employees can bring one guest for free. This offer lasts until the end of January but may be extended if the shutdown continues.

Get more freebies and deals in Alaska here!


St. Mary’s Food Bank is hosting a special mobile food truck at the Phoenix TSA offices to assist TSA workers and their families.

Alamo Drafthouse is offering free movies to furloughed employees. They have locations in Chandler and Tempe.

Arizona Science Center is offering free admission for furloughed employees. Each employee can bring one guest for free! If you are eligible, you can also bring a guest to the “Science with a Twist” adult-only speakeasy-style event on January 18 for free.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix is offering free admission to federal employees. You can bring four guests for the same rate!

Octane Raceway in Scottsdale is offering either a free go-kart race or a free virtual reality experience for furloughed workers and their immediate families.

Stratum Laser Tag is offering one free laser tag game per furloughed federal worker on weekdays. If you visit on a weekend, you will receive 50% off the unlimited laser tag price. You can bring up to three people at the same rate.

Get more freebies and deals in Arizona here!


Arkansas Federal Credit Union is offering assistance and matching programs to assist affected employees. Contact them if you need assistance!

Hawgz Blues Cafe in Little Rock serves free meals on specific dates for those affected by the shutdown.

Tazikis Mediterranean Cafe in Little Rock is offering 25% off to federal employees and their families.

Get more freebies and deals in Arkansas here!


7Sisters Brewing Co. in San Luis Obispo offers free lunches to furloughed workers. The meal includes one of several grilled cheese sandwiches and a side salad.

Dickensen Farm offers a free Shutdown Harvest Bag. The bag includes 5-7 items of freshly harvest organic produce and is exclusively for “San Diego area DHS essential employees (including  Active Coast Guard and Reservists on Active Duty orders). Their website states, “As a DHS & Coast Guard Family, we understand what are shipmates are up against.  We realize it won’t help pay the rent, but hopefully, it will help you save a bit on groceries. ”

Hopdoddy is offering a free meal on January 23! Affected federal workers can enjoy a burger, fries and non-alcoholic beverage for free.

Jules Thin Crust in Oakland is offering a free slice of pizza with presentation of federal ID.

Laurel Beauty Lab in San Francisco is offering free haircuts in January and February for those affected by the government shutdown. There is a limit of one per client. Book the “Trump Shutdown Haircut” service.

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro in Culver City is offering a free meal to those affected. The deal covers any entree or appetizer up to $16.

San Diego Humane Society is distributing free dog food at three of their locations. This service is limited to specific dates and times, so please contact them for details.

Sea West Coast Guard Federal Credit Union is offering 0% loans for deferred payroll deposits. They also offer payment skipping, due date adjustment and other services to help Coast Guard families through the shutdown.

Solomon’s Delicatessan in Davis is offering free pastrami sandwiches to federal workers.

The Burger Spot 1 in Cypress offers free meals to furloughed government workers and their families!

Rock & Brews invites TSA workers to enjoy either a Pulled Pork Sandwich or Strawberry Fields Salad during the shutdown.

Wild West Pizza and Grill gives medium two-topping pizzas to federal employees.0

Get more freebies and deals in California here!


Alpine Bank offers a no-interest loan for up to one month’s salary for all furloughed workers in Colorado.

B-Cycle is offering free rides. Just scan your federal ID andemail it to Denver B-Cycle at [email protected] for a free code.

Big Red F Restaurant Group is offering free weekday lunches until the government shutdown ends. You will need to provide proof of federal employment to receive the meal. The deal is valid for a dine-in Furlough Lunch only. Each week’s Furlough Lunch special is listed on their social media page.

You must visit one of these restaurants for the meal:

  • The Post Brewing Company (Lafayette, Longmont, Rosedale, Boulder)
  • Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar (LoDo / Denver)
  • Centro Mexico Kitchen (Boulder)
  • West End Tavern (Boulder)
  • Zolo Grill (Boulder)

City of Denver may provide two months’ of mortgage payments to those who have unexpected changes in employment status, including furloughs. The program offers a maximum of $5,000 in assistance. Dial 211 for help!

Colorado Pet Pantry is offering help. Check their calendar for dates.

Crafty Fox Taphouse & Pizzeria is offering a free meal to furloughed workers who show government ID.

Curry ‘n’ Kebab in Boulder offers free meals for federal workers affected by the shutdown.

El Dorado in Golden provides a free burrito and soft drink to those with federal ID.

Food Bank of the Rockies is extending their distribution to assist those affected by the shutdown.

Jewish Family Service Weinberg Food Pantry allows employees affected by the shutdown to receive help, even if they ordinarily exceed the income requirements. The income requirements will be waived for those workers for the duration of the shutdown.

Lunch Cantina in Littleton and Georgetown is offering free meals for adults with government IDs and their children. The meals are offered between 11 am and 8 pm daily.

McDivitt Law Firm will provide $40 King Soopers gift cards to affected federal employees. To pick one up, affected employees will need to visit the McDivitt offices in either Colorado Springs, Pueblo or Aurora. Valid federal ID is required. This offer is only valid on January 22, 2019.

Papa Johns in Brighton is offering a free meal for government employees who are impacted by the shutdown. The deal includes 2 one-topping pizzas and a two-liter soda of your choice. You must show your government ID. More information is available in their Facebook post. 

Poor Richard’s restaurant in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is offering free meals to those affected and their families. You will need to show a government ID in order to be served for free.

Rep Ed Perlmutter is providing free food on weekdays. Breakfast and lunch are served between 8:30 am and 5 pm on weekdays. The meals will continue until the government reopens. Visit 12600 W Colfax Avenue B-400 in Lakewood.

Sheraton Denver Tech Center is offering free pizza or salad. Affected workers can eat lunch or dinner there.

Walnut Cafe in Boulder is offering free breakfasts to federal employees affected by the shutdown.

During the shutdown, furloughed employees can receive free admission at the following museums:

  • Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden
  • Center for Colorado Women’s History in Denver
  • Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden (family is free)
  • Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • Denver Art Museum (one guest free)
  • The Denver Firefighters Museum
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science (one guest free)
  • Dinosaur Journey in Fruita
  • Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison (three guests free)
  • El Pueblo History Museum in Pueblo
  • Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center
  • Fort Vasquez in Platteville
  • Four Mile Historic Park in Denver
  • Golden History Museum and Park
  • Hart Research Center in Denver
  • Healy House Museum and Dexter Cabin in Leadville
  • History Colorado Center in Denver
  • Museum of Colorado Prisons in Cañon City
  • Museum of the West / Museum of Western Colorado in Grand Junction
  • Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation in Denver
  • Trinidad History Museum
  • Ute Indian Museum in Montrose
  • Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver

Get more freebies and deals in Colorado here!


Community Soup Kitchen in New Haven is offering free lunches and care packages to affected workers. The care packages include food and other staples.

Leamy Hall has been transformed into a food bank to help affected Coast Guard families.

Main Event Boxing Studio in Gales Ferry invites active duty Coast Guard to work out for free.

Mystic Seaport Museum is offering free admission to furloughed federal workers and one guest. The deal lasts until the shutdown ends. All you need is your government ID card!

Webster Bank is offering interest-free loans to federal workers who cannot get unemployment assistance during the shutdown. This specifically serves those who are asked to work without pay, such as air traffic controllers.

Get more freebies and deals in Connecticut here!


Food Bank of Delaware has extended assistance to affected federal workers. Call 211 for details.

Get more freebies and deals in Delaware here!


Blind Tiger Cafe is offering free coffee and a cookie to anyone who has a badge or pay stub from an affected government office.

Chef Creole gives away meals to unpaid federal employees at Miami International Airport.

Florida Theatre is offering free tickets to certain shows! Furloughed government employees can pick up their tickets in person fromthe Florida Theatre Box Office.

Frost Museum of Science in Miami is offering free admission to federal employees throughout the shutdown. You can bring one guest for free, also! Admission is usually $29.95. Planetarium shows are not included.

Gigglewaters in Safety Harbor offers free beer and a movie to anyone who shows their badge or pay stub.

Happy Bayou Bites in Dunedin is offering free lunch to furloughed workers throughout the shutdown. Valid ID is required.

HistoryMiami is also offering free admission for federal employees and one guest during the shutdown!

Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is offering free admission and even part-time positions for affected workers.

Rocco’s Tacos is giving away a $20 one-time credit to furloughed employees with valid government ID. Claim yours by Saturday, January 20!

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is doing a fantastic job of taking care of federal workers during the shutdown! They invite each employee and one guest to eat for free once per day (up to five times per week). That’s a $38 per day value! Employees may also enjoy one free dinner per week at the casino’s upscale Italian restuarant, Sorrisi. Get the details here.

Sylvia’s Clubhouse offers free admission to all families affected by the shutdown. Per their Facebook page, “We are still offering free play to families affected by the shut down and will continue to do so until one paycheck AFTER the government gets itself back in working order.”

Trinity Cafe in Tampa is offering a healthy three-course meal to those who are affected by the shutdown. This offer is valid at both locations.

Get more freebies and deals in Florida here!


Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours in Atlanta is offering a free lunch on Monday, January 21 for all furloughed employees and their families. The free meal is available between 11 am and 3 pm. The menu includes fried chicken, blackened tilapia, Cajun red beans and rice, vegetables and mashed potatoes. You must call (404) 350-5500 and make a reservation.

Honeysuckle Gelato in Atlanta is offering a free scoop of gelato to affected federal workers.

Hosea Helps offers free groceries, clothing, rent, utility and other assistance to affected federal employees. They are hosting events on January 21 and January 23. If the shutdown continues, additional dates may be announced so be sure to follow their page for updates.

Saltyard is offering one free item from the “farm share” menu to all furloughed federal workers with valid ID.

With a federal ID, you can also enjoy a free cup of coffee at the following locations:

  • Revolution Doughnuts in Atlanta
  • Buteco in Atlanta
  • Hodgepodge Coffeehouse in East Atlanta Village

W Salon in Savannah is offering a free haircut for federal government employees who are not getting paid during the shutdown. You can call them at (912) 352-9920 for details.

Get more freebies and deals in Georgia here!


Maui Fresh Streatery is offering free meals to affected workers. They have a Pay It Forward board with sticky notes. If you are furloughed or working without pay, grab a sticky note and redeem it for a free meal.

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union provides a Government Shutdown Assistance Program. This includes up to $5,000 in emergency personal loans, loan payment deferrals for existing loans and term share early withdrawals of share certificates.

Skydive Hawaii is offering free tandem jumps for up to ten people per day. To qualify, you must live in Hawaii and be a federal worker affected by the shutdown. The company has stated that they will continue the offer until the government reopens unless the company cannot bear the costs.

Get more freebies and deals in Hawaii here!


Discovery Center in Boise offers free admission to all furloughed government workers and their families for the duration of the shutdown. All you need is valid government ID!

Idaho Humane Society offers a month’s worth of pet food for up to four household pets! All furloughed workers need to do is bring a Federal ID, badge or recent pay stub to participate.

Several Idaho banking institutions are dedicated to helping Idaho’s affected workers:

  • Icon Credit Union is offering 90-day, zero-payment loans for up to $5,000.
  • Idaho Central Credit Union offers zero-interest loans.

Get more freebies and deals in Idaho here!


Adler Planetarium in Chicago is offering free admission for federal workers. Each employee can claim two general admission tickets.

Horse Thief Hollow serves free lunch for impacted workers. The deal is valid for up to $15 and does not include alcohol.

Lakeview Pantry in Chicago is offering two weeks’ worth of groceries and access to social services. This is available to all affected workers, regardless of where they live.

Smilin Clyde’s offers a free meal to anyone who has been furloughed because of the shutdown. The free meals iwll be offered until theshut down is over. The cafe is located inside the Oak Lawn library.

The Anti-Cruelty Society is offering free pet food and pet supplies to government employees affected by the shutdown.

Elgin Symphony Orchestra is offering free tickets to certain performances. Each furloughed employee can claim up to four tickets with a valid government ID.

Pure Natur Salon & Spa is offering free haircuts for government employees and their immediate families. Just present your government ID when you check in!

Get more freebies and deals in Illinois here!


Doc’s Smokehouse and Craft Bar is offering a “shutdown special.” The meal includes a pork sandwich, chips and drink. It’s freefor anyone who is furloughed or working without pay. Just show your government IDand enjoy!

Condado Tacos in Indianapolis is offering a free taco with a government ID.

Pizzology is offering free meals for anyone affected by the government shutdown.

Indianapolis Children’s Museum is offering free admission to furloughed workers and those working without pay. Each worker can bring three family members free! You’ll need to show your most recent pay stub and a valid Indiana ID. This deal lasts until March 10th.

Get more freebies and deals in Indiana here!


Food banks may waive their usual requirements to serve those affected by the shutdown.

Get more freebies and deals in Iowa here!


Just Food has waived its income guidelines for affected federal workers. They can obtain a free week’s worth of groceries.

Lawrence Bakery has a “Shutdown Shelf” with free bread for affected federal workers and contractors.

Pegah’s Restaurant is offering free meals of up to $10 for government workers during the shutdown.

Get more freebies and deals in Kansas here!


Smoking This and That in Florence is offering free meals to those affected by the shutdown.

Subway locations in Manchester is offering free meals to Manchester Federal Correctional Institution workers during the shutdown.

St. Vincent de Paul’s Open Hand Kitchen invites affected federal workers to partake of their free meals. They serve lunch and dinner every day.

Whiskey Dry in Louisville has served lunch to the working unpaid TSA officers at Lousville airport. The chef indicated that he “will continue to help out during this gov’t shutdown” so be sure to follow the restaurant for more information!

Get more freebies and deals in Kentucky here!


Restaurant Coté in Slidell is offering a free lunch special to government workers who are affected by the shutdown. The specials are listed on their social media pages. Limit one free meal per person. The deal lasts until through January 17th.

Ruby Slipper Cafe is offering free breakfasts, including an entree and a beverage, to affected workers and their families.

Get more freebies and deals in Louisiana here!

Continue to Part 2 (Maine – Wyoming)

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  1. Karina
    January 18, 2019
    • Riley Thomson
      March 1, 2019
  2. Amanda Aubrey
    January 23, 2019
    • Riley Thomson
      February 5, 2019

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