Government Shutdown: Where to go for help in Fairfax County

For those in the Fairfax County area who have been furloughed and impacted by the shutdown of the Federal Government, here is a list of resources that you may find helpful.

Capital Area Food Bank has been holding pop-up markets in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC offering free groceries for federal workers and contractors. They also need volunteers to help pack food for these events.

Food For Others provides free food to those in need in several ways including neighborhood sites. Individuals and families in need of supplemental food may go to one of 16 neighborhood site locations to pick up food distributed in the evening by Food for Others’ volunteers. Clients receive food at these sites with no referral necessary.

Britepaths provides emergency food and financial assistance for Fairfax County residents (including Fairfax City and other jurisdictions like Falls Church, Herndon and Vienna) but requires a referral from a social worker. Fairfax County’s Coordinated Services Planning 703-222-0880 is the best place to start. They also offer free individual financial coaching sessions at the Financial Empowerment Center at South County to help people get a handle on their finances, prioritize bills, etc. Learn more about this program here If you would like to help Britepaths help local families, please consider donating gift cards or cash (using the Donate button on their website).

ECHO Can Help During Government Shutdown – ECHO anticipates that the government shutdown will cause emergency financial needs among people who are normally self-sufficient- and we are ready to help. To access help, individuals should call 703-569-9160 for an appointment. ECHO’s only requirement is that the caller live within the boundaries of our service area, and we can establish that by phone. If you are interested in helping ECHO address these needs, please see our website, and look for the “Donate Money” tab, or the “Donate Goods” tab to find ways that you can assist our neighbors who might be having a hard time right now.

Northern Virginia Family Service has several resources available for federal workers, federal contractors, and other individuals impacted by the government shutdown. Connect with a NVFS Case Manager to explore services that you may qualify for and learn about providers that can assist you such as housing assistance, emergency financial assistance and emergency food assistance. If you would like to help our furloughed workers, NVFS could use volunteers and/or donations (financial and supplies).

Western Fairfax Christian Ministries food pantry will be open Wednesday evenings from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on January 23, January 30 and February 6 for any employee or contractor affected by the government shutdown. They will distribute pre-bagged food for families which include shelf-stable items, and if possible and while supplies last will also include fresh meat, milk, cheese and produce. A limited amount of gas gift cards will be available.
Proof of Fairfax County residency and financial impact needed, which can be your furlough notice. Appointment not necessary, but if you have further questions, please call. 703-988-9656. Address: 4511 Daly Drive, Suite J, Chantilly, VA 20151.

Humane Society of Fairfax County has a pet food pantry (Ani-meals Program) where they supply pet food and supplies to those who have fallen on hard times and need help caring for their pets. They also welcome donations of pet food and supplies to help stock the pantry.

Fairfax County Animal Shelter has pet food and limited other pet supplies available for furloughed federal employees. The supplies are available during shelter business hours and no is appointment needed. For more information, call 703-830-1100 or email

29 Diner in Fairfax City is offering free meals to local families impacted by the Government shutdown. They are located at 10536 Fairfax Blvd. Families can eat for free (up to $60 for a family of 4). Community members can help by sponsoring a free meal for a family of 4 by donating $60. To donate, call John K. Wood at 703.715.7886.

Fairfax Connector will provide free rides system-wide for federal government employees affected by the government shutdown who are still required to report for work. You must show your federal photo ID to the bus operator when boarding to ride free.  By showing your federal photo ID, trips taken on all Fairfax Connector bus routes are free, including express routes to and from the Pentagon and Downtown D.C.

Fairfax County Public Schools will offer a third hiring event for furloughed federal employees interested in substitute teaching positions on Wednesday, January 23, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center, 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042.