Government Shutdown Relief for Southern New Englanders

If you’re a furloughed government worker in southern New England and cash is tight, we’ve rounded up some places to get help or a little relief. If you know of any businesses offering discounts or other relief to government workers that aren’t listed here, please send them along to!


Pawtucket Credit Union is providing interest-free 90 day loans for up to $3,000 to customers who can prove they are a government employee impacted by the shutdown. Borrowers do not need to be members of the bank to be eligible.

Navigant Credit Union is also offering 90-day, interest-free loans to its members who are furloughed.  Navigant is also forgiving late payment fees on existing loans.

The Diocese of Providence is offering a variety of help, including gift cards to supermarkets and gas stations, assistance with prescription drug costs, heating assistance through the Keep the Heat On program, diapers and baby food through St. Gabriel’s Call, and child care through the Calibrini Fund. Those seeking assistance should call the Diocese at (401) 421-7833 ext. 207.

South County Hospital–  The cafeteria is offering free meals to families affected by the government shutdown. Free dinners for furloughed government workers will be available from 4:30-6:30pm on Tuesdays while the furlough is in effect. Eligible federal workers can order their meal in the cafeteria and let the cashier know they are a furloughed employee during checkout. The hospital is located at 100 Kenyon Ave. in Wakefield.

The Potter League for Animals, along with Handsome Dan’s Rescue and Coventry and Cranston Animal Control, is offering free pet food and cat litter to federal employees. Assistance is available at the adoption center in Middletown.

Project Undercover is offering free diapers for shutdown-affected families in Rhode Island. They can be contacted at (401) 419-8876 or

RISD Museum 20 North Main Street, Providence, RI (401) 454-6500

Free admission for government workers plus a guest, must present a federal ID for admission, plus vouchers for a free meal at one of RISD’s campus dining facilities. Admission is available through Jan. 31, even if the shutdown ends prior to this date. If the shutdown extends beyond Jan. 31, the museum will continue to offer free admission until the shutdown is over.

Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra will offer free tickets to federal employees until 30 days after the shutdown ends.

The first eligible event is the TACO Classical Series concert on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 pm and the open rehearsal at 5:30 pm Friday, Jan. 25. Both performances are at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence.

The Greater Providence YMCA announced that it would waive membership dues for those who need assistance. Those affected should bring their federal ID cards to any Greater Providence YMCA location.

The YMCA is also inviting any furloughed workers who are not currently members to sign up for a free membership during the shutdown.

Providence College is offering free tickets to federal workers to the men’s hockey game against Northeastern at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, and the men’s basketball game against DePaul at noon on Sunday, Jan. 27. Tickets are available at walk-up on game day and at the Friar Ticket Offices in Alumni Hall and Schneider Arena. Must show a valid government ID.

Roger Williams Park Zoo is offering free admission through the shutdown to federal workers affected by the shutdown and up to four members of their family. “We know that for many government employees and their families this is a stressful time,” said Dr. Jeremy Goodman, executive director of the zoo, in a news release. “The zoo is a tranquil and safe environment, and a visit with any of our animals is a great way to relax and enjoy time with family.”

Furloughed employees should present their federal employee ID at the admissions window.

Mystic Aquarium will provide government employees affected by the shutdown the opportunity to visit, Mondays through Fridays, through the duration of the shutdown. Complimentary weekday general admission is available to the government employee with a valid work ID at Mystic Aquarium’s main ticket gate through the duration of the government shutdown.

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority has suspended repayment of college loans for federal employees who are not being paid.

Laughing Elephant Yoga in East Greenwich is offering free classes to government workers for the duration of the shutdown.

Salt Cycle Studio in Tiverton offers free classes and shoe rentals for furloughed federal workers. Email to book.

The Rhode Island Historical Society is offering free admission at the John Brown House Museum (52 Power St., Providence) and the Museum of Work & Culture (42 S. Main St., Woonsocket) for federal employees with a government ID during the shutdown.

Care New England is offering free meals for furloughed government employees and families at Butler Hospital’s Sam’s Place Cafe, Kent Hospital’s Blue Wave Cafe, and Women & Infants Hospital’s Maude’s Cafe. This service will be available while the furlough is in effect.

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