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How To Get Help In San Antonio During Government Shutdown

San Antonio Food Bank exterior in September 2018.
Brian Kirkpatrick | Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio News
San Antonio Food Bank

Updated Jan. 23

As the partial government shutdown continues, with many in the San Antonio area going without a paycheck, local organizations and agencies are offering assistance while putting the call out for donations and support.

RELATED | How To Get Assistance In Austin | For Assistance Statewide 

Bill Assistance

  • The San Antonio Water Service is offering to delay payments for 90 days for federal employees. SAWS will then revisit the issue on April  1  if the government shutdown lasts beyond that.
  • USAA Federal Savings Bank has a special loan program to support members who are active in the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corp, the Public Health Service Corps and their spouses. For more information,  call 210-531-8722.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union will cover missing direct deposit paychecks with interest-free loans. Customers must register online or at a local branch, and direct deposit accounts must already be established.

Unemployment Benefit Services

The Texas Workforce Commission considers federal workers affected by the government shutdown to be “laid off” from their jobs. You can apply for benefits at ui.texasworkforce.org or call 1-800-939-6631 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

San Antonio Food Bank

The San Antonio Food Bank is offering perishable and non-perishable food for federal employees, from 8 a.m.to 3 p.m. Monday through Sunday at 5200 Enrique M. Barrera Parkway. The food bank is also looking for volunteers, as well as donations of money or food. For information, call 210-431-8326.

The food bank is also helping withbenefits assistance.

School Lunches

Families impacted by the shutdown can submit a school cafe application for free and reduced-price meals for your children. Apply online at schoolcafe.com or request a paper application from your local campus. Students with parents or guardians who are not receiving income must indicate their income as zero. Documentation is not needed. If your household has applied this school year and was denied benefits, you can submit a new application, which will override the previous application. Once approved, you will be approved for the remainder of the current school year, and the first 30 operating days of the 2019-2020 school year.


  • VIA is offering free park & ride services to affected workers as long as the shutdown lasts, with a federal I.D.

A Cash Advance

PayPal is offering $500 in an interest-free cash advance — what it calls the equivalent of one week's take-home pay — for existing and new customers who are federal employees and struggling to make ends meet.

The company has committed to fund up to $25 million in cash advances to affected employees.

Local Businesses

  • Bakery Lorraine — which has locations in the Medical Center, the Pearl, and the Rim — is offering federal workers a free cup of coffee and a pastry for every day of the shutdown, with government I.D.
  • The Texas Diaper Bank at 410 and Culebra is offering free diapers to furloughed federal workers for up to six months.
  • Taco Cabana is offering 20 percent of its menu.
  • Poolzoom, a pool supply store located at 16110 San Pedro Ave., is offering  — based on water test results — a free case of liquid chlorine, muriatic acid, and a five-pound bucket of chlorine tablets, as needed. For more information, call 210-496-2244.


  • The Sikh Center of San Antonio is offering free accommodations and food to federal employees affected by the shutdown. For more information, call 210-573-3017.
  • The San Antonio Museum of Art is offering free admission to an affected worker and one guest.
  • The San Antonio law firm of Hilley & Solis is offering to write free wills for furloughed workers with government I.D.
  • The Magik Theatre is offering any furloughed federal employee up to four free tickets to the opening weekend of "Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat." Tickets can be picked up in person at The Magik Theatre’s box office, at 420 S. Alamo St. Performances are Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m.; Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.; or Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.

  • The San Antonio Symphony is offering free tickets to unpaid federal employees until the end of the government shutdown. Affected employees may receive two free tickets to classics or pops series performances by showing a valid ID at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts box office.

Do you know of an organization or business helping out federal employees during the shutdown? Email vince@tpr.org to add it to this list.