CLEVELAND — While the government remains partially shut down, local businesses are helping area government workers ease the burden of financial strains of the federal workers in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio who are affected by the shutdown.
1. Assistance for Coast Guard members
The USO of Northern Ohio is helping men and women enlisted in the Coast Guard who are waiting on their paychecks. The organization is putting together a fundraiser to help subsidize Coast Guard members while their paychecks are on hold.
Non-perishable items such as baby diapers, laundry soap, cleaning products, gas cards to get to and from work and grocer cards to buy perishable items are being collected at two locations:
- Brook Park Recreation Center, 17400 Holland Road Brook Park, Ohio
- Highway Garage, 8410 E. Washington St., Bainbridge, Ohio
Active Coast Guard members who have minor children can apply for a temporary financial assistance grant through the America Legion. An American Legion representative said that phone lines have been very active an. applications for the grant are backed up. Find more information about this grant here.
2. Help with paying internet and phone bill—For those who find themselves in a bind by not being able to pay their phone or internet bill, AT&T will waive late fees, provide extensions and coordinate with affected customers on revised payment schedules. Here's how government workers can take advantage of this offer.
3. Shopping discount— Our Favorite Things Boutique and Event Center is offering 10 percent to all government employees at their store, 12730 Larchmere Blvd in Cleveland.
4. Banking help— Wells Fargo is working with customers whose income has been disrupted as a result of the shutdown. Customers should call 1-800-869-3557 or the number on their credit card or debit card for assistance. Those who have a Wells Fargo mortgage or loan may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs.
5. Food assistance—
- The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is offering help to connect people to food and other resources during the government shutdown. If you need help, call the food bank's help center at 216-738-2067.
- For those receiving SNAP, February benefits are being disbursed early, and March benefits will be distributed on their regular date if the shutdown is resolved. Read more here.
- The Lakewood Community Services Center is offering free meals to Lakewood, Rocky River and Westlake residents. You need to bring proof of government employment. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 10am – 2pm and Wednesday evening from 5:30pm-7:30pm.
- Stouffer's is offering free meals to Cleveland government employees on furlough on Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Read more details here.
7. Gym Help - The downtown YMCA is waiving montly fees for government employees impacted during the shutdown.
8. Extra $110 for Airbnb hosts: Any federal executive branch employee in Ohio who hosts either an experience or three nights in their home over three months between Dec. 18 and March 18, 2019, will receive up to $110 from Airbnb.
9. Ride free—Starting on Tuesday, Jan. 22, all federal employees can ride the Akron Metro buses for free during the shutdown. Federal workers are eligible for free fares on any METRO service, including line service, Northcoast Express, SCAT and Call-A-Bus. This promotion will continue until the shutdown ends.
10. Free dinner— Starting Tuesday, Jan. 22, Burntwood Tavern, M Italian and Rose Italian Kitchen will offer all federal workers a complimentary meal every Tuesday until the shutdown ends.
11. Complimentary lunch— From Monday through Friday, Jan. 25., Urban Farmer is offering furloughed government employees a complimentary lunch. Workers must present a government I.D. to receive one free entree from our lunch menu.
12. Food pantry— The Rotary Club of Solon is opening a pantry to government and contractor employees affected by the shutdown with proof of a government badge. There will be meat, produce and other staples for 150 families. The pantry will be open on Jan. 24 from 4:45-6 p.m. at Church of The Resurrection-Solon, 32001 Cannon Road. Families should register here.