Federal Shutdown: How You Can Help

As the nation’s longest-ever federal government shutdown continues, our team has started to receive questions about how we, King County employees, can help our federal counterparts.

Many furloughed federal employees need assistance with basics, like food and diapers. You can help in ways large and small — such as connecting with a participating Employee Giving Program nonprofit, or simply being nice to unpaid TSA screeners at the airport.

How You Can Help

We’ve compiled a list of participating Employee Giving Program nonprofits working to assist federal employees in our community during the shutdown.

For Families

Northwest Harvest

Northwest Harvest is Washington’s leading hunger relief agency — supporting a statewide network of 375 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools.

Northwest Harvest specializes in making nutritious food available to everyone in times of sudden or unexpected need statewide, every day of the year.

Northwest Harvest is available for all individuals and families affected by the shutdown, to make sure everyone in Washington has consistent access to nutritious food that feeds the body, mind and spirit.

Find hours, locations and more information at northwestharvest.org.

WestSide Baby

WestSide Baby is offering free diapers and wipes on a walk-in basis to families affected by the shutdown.

“We already know many families in our community are unable to afford all the tangible basics,” says Nancy Woodland, WestSide Baby executive director. “No more families should be without clean, dry diapers for their baby just because they are not receiving a paycheck.”

While the shutdown continues, families affected by the furlough can go to WestSide Baby during open hours to receive diapers and wipes. Please bring proof of federal employment.

Find hours, locations and more information at westsidebaby.org.

St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County

St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County is concerned about people who may not have resources during the shutdown, and is ready to help.

The organization’s Georgetown Food Bank offers food, clothing, personal hygiene supplies and other miscellaneous items four days a week.

For rent and utility assistance, please call the helpline at 206-767-6449.

Find hours, location and more information at svdpseattle.org.

Helpline House

Helpline House has seen an increase in registered families due to the shutdown.

The organization offers weekly assistance food assistance through a food bank; financial assistance with rent, mortgage and utilities; and general assistance for other needs through social work.

Find hours, location and more information at helplinehouse.org.

Maple Valley Food Bank & Emergency Services

Any federal employee within the Maple Valley Food Bank & Emergency Services’ service area is invited to connect with the organization for for food and emergency assistance.

The organization can also assist federal workers with additional referrals and resources.

Find hours, location and more information at maplevalleyfoodbank.org.


Through its food banks in Wallingford and Greenwood, FamilyWorks is serving any federal employee who needs emergency food.

Additionally, FamilyWorks’ family resource center in Wallingford offers a range of free services — diapers, children’s clothing, resource referral support, etc. — to any federal employee who needs it.

Find hours, locations and more information at familyworksseattle.org.

Auburn Food Bank

Service from the Auburn Food Bank is available for federal employees who work or live within Auburn School District boundaries.

From 5-7 p.m. Jan. 23, 2019, the food bank will open for federal employees.

The food bank is also accepting financial donations specifically to be given to federal employees, and will be reserving it to help federal workers with a portion of their rent or utilities.

Find more information at theauburnfoodbank.org.

White Center Food Bank

The White Center Food Bank is proud to serve federal employees during the shutdown, to help them secure food, pet food, and diapers.

For clients outside of its service area — the food bank serves residents in the community bordered by Southwest Myrtle Street in West Seattle to 140th Street Southwest in Burien, between Puget Sound and State Route 509 — the food bank will ensure you leave with food, and it will help connect you to resources in your neighborhood.

Find hours, location and more information at whitecenterfoodbank.org.

Wallingford Community Senior Center

During the shutdown, federal employees (and anyone else) is invited to the Wallingford Community Senior Center to eat a subsidized low-cost, or free, lunch, or to get a free loaf of bread.

Find hours, location and more information at wallingfordseniors.org.

Multi-Service Center

Though Multi-Service Center (MSC) has not added additional programs to assist federal employees during the shutdown, they may qualify for assistance through regular MSC programs, in particular the food bank and energy assistance.

The food bank is open to Federal Way School District residents who have a need for supplemental food. Residents can visit once a week. Please see our website for hours and what you should bring with you mschelps.org/gethelp/food.

MSC also provides onetime energy assistance annually to those with qualifying incomes who live in its South King County service area. Households may qualify for PSE HELP energy assistance based on one month’s income, if they don’t qualify with three months income first. This includes federal employees. Find eligibility information and more at mschelps.org/gethelp/energy.

Find hours, location and more information at mschelps.org.

For U.S. Coast Guard Service Members

Red Cross Northwest

With thousands of U.S. Coast Guard service members and families facing financial hardship due to the government shutdown, the United States Automobile Association (USAA), Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA), Inc. and the American Red Cross are teaming up to help Coast Guard service members and families in need.

With the support of a $15 million donation from USAA, CGMA will disburse interest-free loans to Coast Guard personnel with the assistance of the Red Cross.

Find more information at redcross.org.

USO Northwest

USO Northwest is working together with U.S. Coast Guard 13th District leadership to offer support during the shutdown, and has established a restricted fund to receive donations specifically to support local Coast Guard families.

The local National Electrical Contractors Association Puget Sound Chapter has generously agreed to match the first $10,000 raised in support of the Coast Guard, thus doubling the impact of each gift.

Due to federal restrictions, USO Northwest is restricted to providing $20 grocery gift cards to Coast Guard personnel. USO Northwest will purchase $20 grocery gift cards and deliver them to Coast Guard leadership for distribution.

USO Northwest’s goal is to ensure our local Coast Guard personnel receive the items and resources they need to thrive as they remain deployed and steadfast.

Find more information at northwest.uso.org.

Additional Community Resources

YMCA of Greater Seattle

YMCA of Greater Seattle is ensuring that all people affected by the shutdown still have access to health, wellness and childcare services.

Until the shutdown ends, the Y is offering federal employees with a valid government ID waived membership dues and childcare fees. The service is offered to current members as well as individuals and families who join the Y during January 2019.

Additionally, the Y welcomes all non-member federal employees to come as a guest to refresh and renew with a free cup of coffee, an exercise class or swim in the pool.

To use this program, please visit Members Services at any of our Seattle area branches.

Find hours, locations and more information at seattleymca.org.

Bellevue Arts Museum

Bellevue Arts Museum is offering free admissions for up to two adults and two children under 18 for federal employees during the shutdown. Visitors must show a current federal ID or badge.

Find hours, location and more information at bellevuearts.org.

Wing-It Productions

Wing-It Productions, dba Jet City Improv, is offering a deal during the shutdown: At the box office, federal employees can receive free admission to any show when they present a federal ID.

Find hours, location and more information at jetcityimprov.org.

Pasado’s Safe Haven

Pasado’s Safe Haven offers spay/neuter clinics to anyone who qualifies as low-income for any reason, including unemployed. In addition, its pet food banks also offer help to anyone low-income if their pets are spayed or neutered.

Please supply a copy of furlough paperwork or some other proof of off-work status.

Find hours, location and more information at pasadosafehaven.org.


Federal employees can enroll at no cost in a School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts (SANCA) winter session class. A furloughed federal employee and/or an immediate family member(s) may enroll in classes with space available, first-come, first-served, provided any class-specific prerequisites are met.

SANCA provides quality instruction in unique physical arts in a safe, supportive, nurturing environment that provides both challenge and reward to the student. It offers classes for kids of all ages, from 2 to adult, in acrobatics, trampoline, juggling, tumbling, unicycle, tightwire, aerial arts and rolling globe balancing.

SANCA will waive the enrollment costs (tuition and registration fee) for these winter session classes. The enrollment period for furloughed employees and their families is extended until 5 p.m. Feb. 2.

This offer is for students not yet enrolled in the winter session. Enrollment in the onetime Intro to Circus classes and weekly winter session classes is available, but you must sign up by Feb. 2. Flying Trapeze classes are excluded.

On the first day of class please bring your federal employee ID or furlough notice, and state ID, with you to SANCA. Prior to class, all students must complete a waiver.

Find hours, location and more information at sancaseattle.org.