Some 800,000 federal employees have now missed two paychecks due to longest U.S. government shut down in history.
Fortunately, some companies on the First Coast are willing to work with those impacted by the government shutdown to help lessen the financial burden that has been placed on them. Here's a list of where those individuals can get free food, assistance and other aid.
- Free transit fares for federal workers - The Jacksonville Transportation Authority announced a free fare program for federal employees including the JTA fixed route bus service, First Coast Flyer, the St. John’s River Ferry and JTA Connexion. In order to ride for free, federal workers will need to show their active federal identification badge when boarding buses or the Ferry.
- Free Taco from Alma Food Truck - One free signature taco and a side every day until the shutdown ends with valid I.D.
- St. Catherine's Episcopal Church food pantry - The pantry is open Wednesday 9am-12:30pm. They are located on the westside of Jacksonville at 4758 Shelby Ave (between Cassat & Blanding). 904-387-2061.
- Free Theatre Tickets - The Florida Theatre announced it will continue to offer free tickets for upcoming select shows to government employees on furlough.
With a valid, government employee ID, employees can receive one free ticket to Sara Evans on Sunday, January 27 at 7:30pm, Pink Martini on Monday and d on Saturday, February 2 at 8pm. Ts offer is valid only in person at the Florida Theatre Box Office located at 128 E. Forsyth Street.
- Free Meals from Miami Grill- Miami Grill unveiled an “It’s On Us” complimentary meals program for employees of the federal government. Beginning this Sunday, Jan. 27 and continuing through Wednesday, Jan. 30, the restaurant at 9575 N. Regency Square Blvd. will offer a free meal to any federal employee who has been affected by the partial government shutdown, plus up to three guests of the federal employee. The offer is valid from 2 to 5 p.m. each day for the four days of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Bank of America: Offering a Client Assistance Program for personalized financial assistance.
- Chase Bank: Chase will automatically waive or refund overdraft and monthly service fees on Chase checking and savings accounts if an employee’s salary from an affected federal agency was direct-deposited into the account in November, 2018.
- Discover: Discover cardmembers that have a loan with Discover Bank may be eligible for assistance such as skipping a payment. Call 00-347-2683.
- Navy Federal Credit Union: Offering a special Navy Federal government shutdown loan program.
- Wells Fargo: The bank will work with individuals and business banking customers whose income is disrupted as a result of the shutdown.
- Unemployment benefits: In the event of a Federal government shutdown, Federal employees may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE). The UCFE program is administered by state unemployment insurance (UI) agencies acting as agents of the Federal government
- AT&T: For customers affected by the shutdown, you are eligible for flexible payment options to keep your service running.
- Sprint: Sprint Customer Care is prepared to work with federal government employees seeking short-term payment solutions.
- T-Mobile: T-Mobile is providing account support to customers directly affected by the U.S. government shutdown to ensure their wireless service remains available during the closure.
Jax Federal Credit Union - has several options available for members, including auto refinancing loans with 90 days of no auto loan payments, plus $100 cash back. Also balance transfers and personalized assistance.
- BEAM - The Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM) continues to monitor the partial government shutdown and is offering food and financial assistance If you have been personally impacted and may need assistance as a result of the shutdown, please contact us at (904) 241-2326.
- City grants for rent, utilities and food assistance - To apply for grants offered by the City of Jacksonville's Social Services Division to help assist with rent, mortgage, utilities and food you can call 904-630-0545.
- JEA Services - For JEA services such as payment plan extensions and alternate payment arrangements, you can call 904-665-6000.
- United Way - The City of Jacksonville has a longstanding relationship with the United Way. They are able to help those impacted by the shutdown with referrals to agencies that provide rent, mortgage and food assistance. You can reach them by dialing 2-1-1.
- Military Affairs offers help - The City of Jacksonville Military affairs and Veterans Department is offering interest-free loans to Coast Guard personnel. Additional services are also available for other members of the military. Call 904-630-3680.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
- Furloughed Pet Food Drive - Beginning Jan. 28 thru Feb. 1, the Jacksonville Pet Funeral Home and Pet Cremation Center will be accepting pet food donations to be given to the United States Coast Guard or any VERIFIED furloughed government employee(s) who need help with food for their pets.
If you'd like to add to this list, please email us at News@FirstCoastNews.com