Government Shutdown: Resources for furloughed workers — and those looking to help​​​​​​​

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The local community is rallying around furloughed employees and their families affected by the ongoing government shutdown. 

Hunger Hotline

Local food bank FeedMore has established a ‘Hunger Hotline’ for anyone affected by the government shutdown and is in need of emergency food assistance. 

If you or someone you know needs help with emergency food assistance, they are urged to call 804-521-2500 or complete the Hunger Hotline Inquiry Form.

FeedMore has also been holding food drives for federal workers or anyone in need of food. They will be holding their second ‘Pop-Up Food Distribution’ event from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, January 25 at 1415 Rhoadmiller St, Richmond, Virginia 23220. Follow FeedMore on Facebook for updates on future events. 

Chesterfield Food Bank seeking donations, volunteers

The Chesterfield Food Bank is ramping up its efforts ‘as quickly as possible’ to handle the additional assistance needed in Chesterfield County due to the ongoing government shutdown. They’re in need of cash donations, volunteers and more. Click HERE to donate, HERE if you or a loved one needs assistance and HERE if you wish to volunteer. 

“The Chesterfield Food Bank has always helped those who need a hand in a time of challenge, and this is no different. We do not rely on federal funds to operate, so we are still functioning during this unfortunate government shutdown. If you or someone you know needs help, please contact us so that we can support our neighbors.”

Other Food Drop-Off Locations

Non-perishable food items can be donated at the following locations:

  • At the Walmart locations on Shelia Lane and Nine Mile Road in the City of Richmond, and the locations in the City of Petersburg and Colonial Heights as well.
  • Five Below stores in the Tri-Cities
  • Ricky Johnson Foundation, 1804 E. Belt Boulevard, Richmond
  • Launch Trampoline Park, 10903 Hull Street Road, Richmond
  • Gee Law Firm, 4719 Nine Mile Road, Henrico County

Items collected will be handed out to families from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at the Ricky Johnson & Friends location on E. Belt Boulevard. Just make sure to bring a government ID, bank statement or pay stub to prove you’re still an employee of the federal government. Once you’ve done this once, you will receive a voucher that allows you to return every seven days until the shutdown ends. 

Lidl offering discounted Groceries

In local communities across the country this weekend, Lidl will be offering $10 off purchases of $40 for those employees affected by the government shutdown. All you’ll need is your grocery list — and a valid federal government ID to show during checkout. 

Operation #Furloughtanklow

Operation #furloughtanklow is in full swing in the City of Petersburg. The American Legion Department of  Virginia is accepting donations so that they can fill up gas tanks and provide other assistance for federal law enforcement officers in Petersburg.

Donations can be received between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1708 Commonwealth Avenue, Richmond, Virginia, 23230. Any large donations or pickups can also be scheduled with Jennifer Greene (804-878-6061). The current needs of the officers are gas cards paper products, diapers, toiletries and food.

“The Federal Bureau of Prisons family thanks everyone for their gracious hearts during their time of uncertainty.”

Local toy store offering birthday surprises for children

A Richmond toy store, World of Mirth, wants to help the children of families impacted by the shutdown who may have a birthday coming up. The initiative has gone viral, with more than 16,000 shares from families across the country — and beyond — wanting help. Click here for details. 

Richmond SPCA offering affordable pet care

The Richmond SPCA is temporarily expanding client qualifications at its Susan M. Markel veterinary hospital to include pet owners affected by the partial government shutdown. They announced on Facebook that federal workers in need of low-cost, full-service veterinary care are to complete their new client information form here

Free admission to area exhibits, shows

A handful of area attractions are offering free and/or discounted rates to furloughed employees.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is continuing to offer free admission to federal workers and their families. All you have to do is show a federal government ID. 

The Valentine is also welcoming all furloughed employees to enjoy their exhibits free of charge.

The National is offering free tickets to the upcoming Ana Popovic concert on February 2.

Swift Creek Mill Theatre would also like to provide ‘a few hours of smiles for our shutdown-affected friends.’ They’re inviting furloughed employees to see any performance “Cyrano de Bergerac” free of charge. Each federal ID is good for two free tickets and a $25 dining certificate for two.

The Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond is offering free tickets to select upcoming performances for federal employees. Government employees who present a federal ID can claim up to two free adult and two free child tickets per performance. CLICK HERE for details. 

Free Oil Changes

Beginning Wednesday, January 30, the owner of Victory Lane Auto Sales and Repair, located at 10011 Hull Street Road, will be giving out 10 free oil changes per day to furloughed workers on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Dominion offering payment help

Dominion Energy is working with federal workers who may be experiencing financial hardship during the partial government shutdown. 

Customers can make arrangements through their online account at or contact at 866-366-4357. You can also click here for a list of EnergyShare agencies in the state of Virginia. 

Nationwide Assistance Programs 

Dozens of banks, payment services and mobile providers are also offering assistance to customers. 

PayPal, for instance, has allocated $25 million to fund interest-free cash advances to its furloughed federal workers that need assistance right now. Bank of America, SunTrust and Wells Fargo are among many banks that are also providing aid to their customers. The major phone providers — Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile — are too. 

CLICK HERE for details.

Be Wary of Scams!

Attorney General Mark R. Herring is warning Virginia’s furloughed workers of several scams to be wary of amid the ongoing shutdown, from fake employment offers and predatory lending to un-verified loans and charities.

What Did We Miss?

Do you know of other organizations or initiatives supporting furloughed employees in our community? Send an email to

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