The government shutdown is now in its fourth week, and hundreds of thousands of federal employees across the country are not being paid.
The shutdown began Dec. 22 and as of Jan. 12 has officially become the longest in United States history. Around 800,000 employees in the U.S. have been affected, most of them furloughed but many deemed “essential” and working without pay. Though President Donald Trump signed a law Wednesday ensuring that employees receive backpay, working without a paycheck for many is not sustainable.
To support those affected, businesses and organizations around town are offering free or discounted goods and services.
VIA Metropolitan Transit is offering free bus rides starting Friday to furloughed government employees who show their federal government ID to bus operators.
Bakery Lorraine is providing free coffee and a breakfast pastry to all furloughed employees who can show a government ID. (And if you’re in Austin, the offer is good there, too.)
2M Smokehouse on San Antonio’s South Side is serving free pulled pork tacos to furloughed employees.
The Texas Diaper Bank has a number free goods and services for furloughed government workers. Employees who enroll at the Diaper Bank by Feb. 1 are eligible to receive six months worth of diapers or incontinence products, wipes, feminine hygiene products, and parenting classes for free. People impacted by the government shutdown must provide a parent or guardian’s ID, proof of government employment, and proof of guardianship. Call 210-731-8118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
The San Antonio Museum of Art is offering free museum admission to federal employees during the shutdown. Admission normally costs $20 for adults, $17 for seniors, $12 for students, and is free for children 12 and under.
The McNay Art Museum also is offering free museum admission to federal employees and a guest during the shutdown, all you need is a valid government ID. Admission normally costs $10 for adults; $5 for students with ID, active military, and seniors; and is free for youth aged 19 and younger.
The Magik Theatre has reserved up to four free tickets per furloughed government employee for the opening weekend of Dr. Seuss’s classic, The Cat in the Hat. Tickets can be picked up in person at the theater’s box office on 420 S. Alamo St. for one of three performances: Friday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m., Sat. Feb. 2 at 2 p.m., or Sun. Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. The show runs from Feb. 1 to March 2, and tickets start at $15.
The Sikh Center of San Antonio is providing free vegetarian meals to anybody affected by the shutdown on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Sikh Dharamsal is also providing free vegetarian meals, all day from Friday through Monday.
The San Antonio and New Braunfels food banks have care packages of perishable and non-perishable food ready for pickup for government employees with a valid ID Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has completed a series of recruiting events for federal employees, promising to expedite applications from furloughed federal employees.
The sheriff’s department also finished collecting food donations at three area Walmarts to benefit furloughed employees via the San Antonio Food Bank.
Hilley & Solis Law Firm has pledged to create wills for free for furloughed government workers while the shutdown continues – just bring a federal employee ID. The firm, which handles employee, criminal, personal injury, and insurance law, is also looking to hire a furloughed employee.
The San Antonio Symphony and the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts are both offering free tickets to Classics or Pops performances to those affected by the government shutdown, starting the weekend of Jan. 25. Simply show a valid government ID at the Tobin Center box office for two free tickets per furloughed government employee. Call (210) 223-8624 with any questions.
Hope for the Future is providing emergency tuition assistance to Catholic school families who have been affected by the government shutdown. The Archdiocese of San Antonio nonprofit will determine how much money to award depending on the number of applicants. Families interested in applying should contact their child’s school principal, and be prepared to show proof of federal employment and furlough. Assistance decisions will be made by Jan. 29. Hope for the Future is also accepting donations for the emergency tuition fund on their website.
Did we miss one? If you know of a local organization helping out during the shutdown, email us at email@example.com.