2019 Federal Government Shutdown Resources

Thank you to all of our government agencies, public and private partners who contributed to these resources during the government shutdown. While the government shutdown has ended, we will keep this list online. 

Although this list focuses on food resources, the DC government has created a broader list of resources for those affected by the government shutdown. You can find it here.


1. SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will continue to be available to residents eligible for SNAP through the month of February. Many District residents rely on SNAP, a federal program run by the Department of Human Services (DHS), to supplement their grocery budget. February SNAP benefits will be disbursed early (starting on Jan. 16), and can be used throughout the month of February. More information about how to apply for SNAP is available here.

2. Seniors: The DC Office on Aging operates 46 community dining sites in all eight wards of the city, serving daily lunch Monday through Friday, for residents 60 years of age and older. Visit DCOA’s website for more information.

3. Free Lunches at Recreation Centers: During the shutdown, the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) are offering free lunches to kids 18 years old or younger at eight recreation centers across the District every Saturday during the shutdown from 12 pm – 1 pm. This service is only available during the shutdown. Check the department’s Twitter account for updates.

Recreation Center Ward
Joe Cole – 1299 Neal Street, NE Ward 5
Harry Thomas – 1743 Lincoln Road, NE Ward 5
King Greenleaf – 201 N Street, SW Ward 6
Rita Bright – 2500 14th Street, NW Ward 1
Hillcrest – 3100 Denver Street, SE Ward 7
Benning Park – 5100 Southern Ave SE, Washington, DC 20001 Ward 7
Benning Stoddert – 100 Stoddert Place, SE Ward 7
Emery – 5801 Georgia Avenue, NW Ward 4

4. School Meals: Families impacted by the government shutdown with school-age children may apply for free school meals through their school. Federal funding to support Child Nutrition Programs will be available into March, should the shutdown continue. Local Education Agencies are encouraged to reach out to families who may be impacted by the government shutdown to offer them a fee and reduced price meal application. These services are always available.


1. Bread for the City: Beginning Monday, January 14, District residents who are furloughed federal workers or contractors can visit Bread for the City’s NW (1525 7th Street, NW) or SE (1640 Good Hope Road, SE) Centers for a five-day supply of groceries. This service is only available during the shutdown. Bread for the City is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services to reduce the burden of poverty. Learn more here.

2. Capital Area Food Bank: The Capital Area Food Bank distributes food to over 400 food assistance programs in the D.C. area. Their Hunger Lifeline (202-644-9807) can direct those in need to the closest program. Some offer groceries, while others offer free meals. This service is always available. Visit their website for more information.

The Capital Area Food Bank is also operating free pop-up markets on Saturdays for government employees and contractors affected by the furlough. The locations and times for these markets will be posted here at least 1-2 days before each market day.

3. Martha’s Table: All guests are welcome to shop for fresh produce and pantry items at Martha’s Table’s no-cost markets. This service is always available.

  • Martha’s Table Market at the Commons (2375 Elvans Road, SE): Open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Extended hours on Tuesdays
    (11a.m. to 6 p.m.) begin Jan. 22.
  • Martha’s Table Lobby Market – 14th Street Location (2114 14th, NW): Open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Extended hours on Tuesdays
    (11a.m. to 6 p.m.) begin Jan. 22.
  • Monthly Community Markets: held at Rita Bright Family and Youth Center, Fort Stanton Recreation Center, and The Commons. For dates and other information, visit https://marthastable.org/programs/foodaccessprograms/.
  • Guests are now able to shop at Martha’s Table markets twice per month for as long as the shutdown continues.

4. Central Union Mission: Central Union Mission invites furloughed federal employees in need of food to visit their Family Ministry Center (3194-B Bladensburg Rd., NE, Washington, DC), Monday through Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Groceries will be available while supplies last through our Emergency Referral Program. People seeking assistance must bring a government-issued ID and agency work badge/ID. For more information, visit missiondc.org.

5. Food & Friends: Food & Friends encourages furloughed federal employees grappling with a serious illness, either personally or in their family, to apply for their meal and grocery delivery services. Food & Friends provides food not just for the individual living with illness, but also to caregivers and dependents. Any furloughed federal employee battling a serious illness, or caring for a loved one with a serious illness, may qualify for free meal or grocery deliveries. For more information, visit http://foodandfriends.org/refer-a-client/.

6. &pizza: The pizza chain is offering free pizzas to government workers from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the shutdown. For information on their locations, visit andpizza.com.

7. Baked by Yael (3000 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.): Federal employees and contractors can get a free coffee through the shutdown. Zoo employees required to work without pay can get a free bagel sandwich or small soup on weekdays. This service is only available during the shutdown. For more information visit bakedbyyael.com/shutdown.

8. The Duplex Diner (2004 18th St. NW): The Duplex Diner is offering furloughed federal workers a free Monday meal and a glass of wine. Bring your ID or business card. This service is only available during the shutdown. For more information visit http://www.duplexdiner.com.

9. Jose Andres Efforts

  • ThinkFoodGroup Restaurants: Federal workers with a valid ID and their can get a free sandwich at the bar of any of Jose Andres’ restaurants, including Oyamel, Zaytinya, America Eats Tavern, and Beefsteak. The offer stands from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily until the shutdown ends. For more information visit http://www.thinkfoodgroup.com.
  • ThinkFoodLab: Starting Wednesday, Jan. 16th, Jose Andres, through his nonprofit World Central Kitchen, will offer a rotating menu of free sandwiches, soups, and salads at ThinkFoodLab (701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) for federal employees and their families. The kitchen will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit: worldcentralkitchen.org.
  • These services are only available during the shutdown.

10. Kraft Foods is hosting a pop-up grocery store “Kraft Now. Pay Later.” for furloughed government employees near Union Market. The store will include mostly shelf-stable items, including Kraft Mac & Cheese, Kraft Natural Cheese, Kraft Singles, Kraft Salad Dressings, Kraft Mayo and Kraft BBQ sauce. The groceries are free and customers are encouraged to donate to their favorite charity instead once the government reopens. Dates and times of the pop-up store are available on its Facebook page.

11. Pay It Furloughed connects furloughed federal workers with free craft beer, provides an opportunity for others to support furloughed workers, and supports local breweries in the District. Furloughed workers with a federal ID can get free beer by visiting participating breweries. Those wishing to buy a furloughed worker a brew can donate $7.50 through the website for each local craft beer they want to cover. The initiative is a collaborative partnership between Mess Hall, food writer Nevin Martell, 3 Advance, Quixotic, Made in DC and local craft breweries. For more information, visit the Pay It Furloughed website.

Although this list focuses on food resources, the DC government has created a broader list of resources for those affected by the government shutdown. You can find it here.

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