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Help for furloughed federal workers in Houston area

Many local restaurants and other businesses are Standing For Houston by offering help for federal workers who are furloughed or forced to work without pay during the shutdown.

HOUSTON — As the U.S. goes through the longest government shutdown in history, many local businesses are Standing For Houston and embracing federal workers who are furloughed or forced to work without pay.


Beginning Tuesday, January 22, furloughed federal employees can apply for a $100 voucher and obtain information about organizations and businesses offering meals, deals and other assistance. 

At the same time, the public will have one central location to donate non-perishable food, diapers and other baby items, cleaning supplies, gift cards and cash. 

Tap here for details.


Until the shutdown ends, furloughed federal workers can grab a free burger daily at Killen's Burgers in Pearland. 

Killen's BBQ is will continue Furlough Fridays until the shutdown ends. Free family meal packs will include brisket, sausage, potato salad and beans. You will need to present a valid federal employee ID. 

RELATED: Killen's feeds thousands of furloughed federal workers and their families


The restaurants are the latest offering a helping hand to furloughed workers.

Gringos is offering free meals to entire families at all 17 of their restaurants. Families have to email the restaurant to make a reservation and their meal up to $75 is free. 

The offer just started Friday and Gringos already has more than 600 reservations ready to feed more than 2,000 people. 

To make a reservation, email your mailing address and contact number to Lindi Vineyard at lindi@gringostexmex.com.


The Children’s Museum of Houston and the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center are offering free admission to families affected by the government shutdown beginning Saturday, Jan. 19.

Federal government employees must present a valid government ID at the box office and may bring up to six family members.


Houston METRO is offering free rides to federal workers for the duration of the shutdown. Federal workers will need to show a federally issued government employee identification card when boarding to received the benefit. 

The offers extends to the local bus, METRORail, Park and Ride and METROLift.


2Cool Server Training is offering online server certification for free to furloughed government workers. 

A TABC Server Certification could help a worker get a supplemental job or even an immediate family member could take advantage of it and get a job in the hospitality industry to help out at home, the company says. 

For more information about the program, click here. 


Pipeline Pizza in Pasadena is offering a free pizza to anyone affected by the shutdown every day until the government is back open. You will need to show your federal ID or TSA badge to enjoy the free meal.


D’Amico's is offering all furloughed federal workers, plus one guest, a free plate of spaghetti and meat balls for lunch or dinner, every Monday through Thursday, until the shutdown is over. Non-alcoholic beverages are included. This offer is good one time per person. Proof of furlough with a federally-issued government ID will be requested. The offer is for dine-in only and reservations are encouraged.


The non-profit food truck is providing free lunches for TSA employees who are working without pay. The truck is parked outside of Bush IAH. 

RELATED: Nonprofit food truck feeds furloughed TSA workers at Bush Airport


Axelrad is offering a free can of beer to anyone affected by the government shutdown. All you need to do is bring your government ID. This offer is good until the shutdown ends. 


Bistro Provence is offering any furloughed or unpaid federal worker a free lunch Monday through Friday while the government shutdown lasts. There will be a choice of two main course dishes, which will be included on the daily blackboard special. Heads up, they will change each day. The offer includes a non-alcoholic beverage and is good one time per person. Proof of furlough with a federally-issued government ID will be requested. Reservations are required because the number of lunches per day are limited. This is for dine-in only.


Taco Cabana is showing support for federal employees affected by the government shutdown by offering 20% off its entire menu (with a max of $20 in savings.)

Federal employees only need to show valid federal government employee identification issued by a department affected by the shutdown in order to redeem this offer. The offer is valid at all participating Taco Cabana locations, dine-in or drive thru, but is not valid for online orders. The discount will continue through the period of the shutdown, unless otherwise announced. 


Ouisie’s Table is offering any furloughed federal worker or worker having to work without pay during the shutdown a free main course of any item on the menu for lunch any day of the week. For dinner, the restaurant is offering any main course offering up to $30 at no cost. The offer is good once a week per person until the shutdown ends. Proof of furlough with a federally-issued government ID will be requested. The offer is for dine-in only for groups of four or less. Reservations are required.


Rainbow Lodge is offering any federal worker affected by the shutdown a free bowl of Smoked Duck Gumbo from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday until the government reopens. The offer, which requests the purchase of a beverage and gratuity for the server, is good one time per person. Proof of furlough with a federally-issued government ID will be requested. The offer is for dine-in only and for groups of four or less.


This Is It Restaurant is offering free breakfast and coffee, on Friday, Jan. 18, to any federal worker that has been laid off during the shutdown. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.


Cy-Fair Helping Hands is encouraging any Cy-Fair resident that is a federal employee to come to their pantry to receive assistance with food. Applicants are asked to bring their government ID. The pantry is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and the first and third Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 


Runway Cafe is serving free food to any member of the Coast Guard due to the government shutdown. 


Pearland Pets will be opening on an appointment-only basis for any pet owners affected by the government shutdown. The nonprofit organization wants to ensure that pets remain in their homes, instead of surrendered to a local shelter, because someone affected by the shutdown may not have the means to afford pet food or supplies. All food and supplies will be free. Their goal is to provide a 30-day supply of food for each pet. You must complete a short form if need of assistance. 

MORE: Pearland nonprofit offering free pet food to government workers during shutdown


Fuzzy's Pizza in Katy is offering 50 percent off any medium or large thin/regular crust three topping pizza. You must show a government badge or ID to redeem this offer. This will last until the end of the government shutdown. (This offer is only valid at the Mason Road location)


The Harlem Globetrotters are offering furloughed U.S. government employees free tickets to their 2019 Fan Powered North American tour. The Globetrotters will play at the Fertitta Center at the University of Houston at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 7 p.m. Feb. 16 and 3 p.m. Feb. 17. Present a valid government ID at your local box office and receive two complimentary tickets. The offer is only valid during the current government shutdown and not on previously purchased tickets.


Sweet T's Diner would like to help members of the Freeport Coast Guard by offering a free meal during the government shutdown. The diner is open seven days a week from 6 a.m to 9 p.m. You must show you government ID to the cashier.


Urban Bricks is giving away free pizza, pasta or a panini to government workers with a valid ID or with a TSA badge every Friday until the shutdown is lifted. They are open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. 


Bread Man Baking Company, a local bakery, is offering free loaves of bread to furloughed federal government workers in the city on Friday, January 18, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.


The Houston Food Bank is hoping unpaid federal workers visit one of 600 pantry locations across the area if they need help feeding their families.

With the help of the Houston Federal Executive Board, the Houston Food Bank has sent an email to the thousands of unpaid government workers informing them of available assistance.

A brand new app, which you can find in your smartphone’s App Store, allows a user to find the nearest pantry location. The average box of food will save a person about $21, which allows a furloughed employee to use the money for other things. 

RELATED: Houston Food Bank encourages federal workers to visit pantries for assistance


Local nonprofit, Kids Meals, is offering free food to children of furloughed government workers. 

The free, healthy meals are for their children under 6 years old.


The John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science is offering federal employees and three of their family members free entry to the museum through the month of Feb. 2019. 

To claim the free admission, federal employees must show a valid federal employee ID at The Health Museum's visitor's desk. 


Supermercados Telolopan is giving away free Mexican "pan" to government employees currently on furlough due to the government shutdown. Those affected will receive 10 complementary pastries once a week after presenting proof of government ID. 


Hopdoddy Burger Bar is giving a 25 percent discount to all furloughed employees until the government is back in business. You must show your federal government ID to get the discount. 


Texas Hair Team is offering furloughed government workers 50 percent off haircuts on January 25, 2019 from 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.

The salon is located at 3091 College Park Drive in Conroe, Texas 77384.


The City of Houston is providing a special grace period on water/wastewater bill payments by federal employees affected by the shutdown. If you pay City of Houston water bills, call 713-317-1400 to receive a 30-day extension on your payment deadline without penalties or interest charges. 

You will get instructions by phone about how to fax or e-mail required proof of your employment by the federal government. 

RELATED: Hopdoddy, City of Houston offering discounts to furloughed workers during government shutdown

If you know any local restaurants, businesses, or organizations that are helping federal workers affected by the government shutdown, please email web@khou.com.