Government Shutdown Resources for Churches

At Bi-District Training Day, we offered a last-minute opportunity for persons to gather and share ideas about how the church can respond to the ongoing government shut-down. A list of suggestions and resources is below (both on the page and as an attachment, you may download and share).We will continue to update these lists. If you have a food pantry or a weekly meal that is free for those affected, or a small group for support … whatever you may be doing in response that you would be open to having others participate in, please let us know. You may email those opportunities and any additional resources or action items for this list to

The United Methodist Credit Union Is Offering 0% APR Loans For Those Affected By The Government Shutdown

The United Methodist Credit Union(TUMCU) is offering loans to Federal Government Employees that may need paycheck replacement during the current shutdown. Loan amounts are based on the member’s monthly pay prior to the shutdown. Loans have a 0% APR during the shutdown, and are available up to a maximum of $5,000.

  • Applicants must be eligible for TUMCU membership or a current member.
  • Applicants must provide a shutdown letter and verification of income at the time of application.
  • Once the shutdown has ended and paychecks have been restored, loan repayment is due within 30 days. If the loan is unpaid after 30 days, it will be converted to a 12-month interest bearing loan at 9.25% APR. Credit terms and conditions apply.

 Contact TUMCU at 866-657-0004 to apply or for more details.

Arlington and Alexandria Churches Taking Action

  • Franconia UMC will be having free dinners on Friday evenings, called “Furlough Fridays Free Dinner.” From 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., until the shutdown ends, at Franconia UMC. All are welcome to enjoy soups, salads, and breads. 6037 Franconia Rd., Alexandria.
  • Community of Faith UMC offers food distribution every Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. No paperwork is needs. Just show up for frozen meats, produce, canned goods, and breads, at the church building, which shares a driveway with KinderCare. 13224 Franklin Farms Road, Herndon.
  •  First Vietnamese-American UMC of Greater Washington will provide free haircuts this Thursday, January 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 4701 Arlington Blvd., Arlington.
  • Sydenstricker UMC is having Tuesday dinners for furloughed persons, contracted workers, and their families, beginning tonight, January 15, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Sign up on the church website: 8508 Hooes Rd., Springfield.
  • St. Thomas UMC’s food pantry is available every Saturday from 7 to 10 a..m for those needing food assistance and dinner is free on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for those impacted by the government shutdown. 8899 Sudley Road, Manassas.
  • Rising Hope Mission Church is prepared for an increase of participants in their daily free lunches and our weekly food pantry distribution.  Lunches are at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday and Tuesday through Friday.  Food pantry distribution is Wednesday 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.  8220 Russell Road, Alexandria.
  • Old Bridge will be offering a free dinner next Wednesday night (1/23) for those in our church and community who have been furloughed, to include the parents from Westridge Elementary, their signature mission. They have also offered to pay bills for church folk who are furloughed and need help.  3966 Old Bridge Road, Woodbridge.
  • Messiah UMC will be hosting Wednesday night dinners starting at 6 p.m. every Wednesday nights. 6215 Rolling Road, Springfield.
  • Christ Church also is offering free dinners for all federal employees and families affected by the government shutdown on Wednesday evenings, between 5:30–6:30 p.m.  There’s no need to register.  Just show up at 7600 Ox Road, Fairfax Station.
  • Wesley UMC (Vienna) has a Wednesday Night Supper (Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m.), to which Government workers can freely participate. 711 Spring St, SE, Vienna.
  • Fairlington UMC, Washington Street UMC, and Roberts Memorial UMC will partner to host a furloughed employee luncheon at a locally owned restaurant. Our churches will pick up the lunch tab for all furloughed and essential w/o pay workers who are available this Thursday, January 24, between 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Meggrolls (107 N. Fayette St., Alexandria).
  • Oakton United Methodist Church is offering a running OPEN HOUSE, Daily, M-F, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. until furloughs end. (2951 Chain Bridge Road, Oakton.)
  • The Kingstowne Communion continues to sponsor events related to helping feed those affected by the shutdown. Learn more about their efforts via their Facebook Page.
    See an article about their efforts here.
  • Round Hill UMC has a food pantry open to federal workers affected in Western Loudoun County. Those in need can contact 540-338-4445 for more information. Round Hill UMC is located at 11 W Loudoun Street, Round Hill, VA 20141

Additional Resources Offering Assistance

Loudoun Hunger Relief is committed to providing food for our neighbors in need, throughout the year and in unexpected moments of economic hardship. In response to the partial government shutdown, Loudoun Hunger Relief is holding free Pop-Up Markets for government employees, contractors and other individuals affected by the furlough.
This week, LHR will be distributing free produce and shelf-stable items. Up to 200 people at each site can receive produce and groceries at the following locations:
• Eastern Loudoun
Thursday, January 24th
11:00 AM – 12:30PM and 6:30 – 8PM
Galilee UMC, 45425 Winding Road Sterling, VA 20165

•Western Loudoun
Saturday, January 26th
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 711 West Main St, Purcellville, VA 20132
(One block west of the 711 at the intersection of Main St and Rt. 690)

LHR is grateful for the community support we’ve received to help our neighbors impacted by the government shutdown. Special thanks to Easterns Automotive Group, Galilee Church, St. Andrew Presbyterian and Loudoun County Government for the support. If you are in need of assistance and cannot make it to a pop-up market, please visit the pantry at Loudoun Hunger Relief. To make an appointment or for more information, please call 703-777-5911. LHR is located at 750 Miller Dr, Suite A1 Leesburg, Virginia.

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 #governmentshutdown. We will distribute pre-bagged food for families which include shelf-stable items. If possible, and while supplies last, we 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. This can be your furlough notice or other proof showing paycheck did not get deposited. Appointment not necessary, but if you have further questions, please do call. 703-988-9656 Address: 4511 Daly Drive, Suite J, Chantilly, VA 20151.

Action Items and Resources (compiled January 12)

  • Notice day school attendance to reach out to parents who aren’t bringing their children because of loss of income and offer a temporary scholarship. Involve day school director in this planning and discussion.
  • Open sanctuary for prayer, and staff it
  • Rent is high for business owners, and income has dropped.  Have a church meeting in local restaurants to bring support to their business. Have conversation with owners/employees to hear their struggle.
  • Help find local work (in our own churches? or with church members?) for persons whose business has fallen off.
  • Solicit a district (Conference?) offering for persons who have specific needs that churches can contribute to. Establish a central place/method for screening so people don’t have to go from church to church
  • Identify in local churches their 3 favorite business that they’d hate for them to go out of business and how to support them
  • Hold a workshop for businesses to hear them and what their issues are, and how the church might make a difference
  • Hold a game night/movie night at the church for families in the community to have a safe place to come with their families and to meet people in the church who might be able to connect them to jobs, free babysitting, etc. Or, just a night to get out at no cost.
  • Offer odd jobs around the church, or resource church members who have odd jobs to help provide income to struggling persons/families.
  • Re day care, offer it no-charge/on scholarship at church because people will pull their children out of day care in order to save expenses, or to enable both spouses to work
  • Free lunch has been offered to all Fairfax county students
  • Church leaders should be in touch with Ramona Carroll (Fairfax Co. Interfaith Coordinator) to keep her apprised of what we’re doing and to invite her wisdom and organization
  • ask Ramona Carroll regarding what the churches (UM church) can do in Fairfax County
  • Publicize which churches will have meals served and when, have furloughed persons help, and enable the partnering together of UM churches (and other faith communities) in this endeavor.
  • Serve hot cocoa/coffee to government employees that are walking and protesting at the White House.  Offer to walk with them.
  • Provide a prayer wall in churches
  • Find out what the specific needs are of furloughed church members.
  • Note that churches will be effected by income regarding members who won’t be able to pay their pledges.
  • Find an effective way to communicate regionally what assistance is being offered and where.
  • UM churches in Northern Virginia, through its churches, will need to keep a finger on the pulse of this situation.
  • People/staff at churches need to know where food pantries are and disseminate that info to church members and all staff.
  • Food pantries could be set up in Giant (etc.) parking lots (or other grocery space) so people could find them easily.
  • There’s a need to collect more food from churches for food drives
  • Get lists from county organizations or churches that have information regarding assistance and distribute that info to all UM churches in Fairfax County.
  • Churches could offer to sponsor a child’s b’day party for families affected by the furlough.
  • Individual churches could meet and answer the question: “What can we do? How can we be agents of God’s love in this community? Find ways to enable persons to be those agents.
  • Discern how to work together with neighboring UM (and other) churches.