Arts organizations and businesses offer free perks to furloughed federal workers | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Arts organizations and businesses offer free perks to furloughed federal workers

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 2:28 PM

click to enlarge Row House Cinema - AMANDA WALTZ
  • Amanda Waltz
  • Row House Cinema
After 32 days, there appears to be no end in sight for the partial government shutdown, leaving thousands of federal employees out of work and without pay. As a show of support, many local arts institutions and businesses have offered free or low-cost perks to help make life more bearable for neglected workers.

Among them is the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), which will offer complimentary concert tickets to furloughed federal government workers from now until 30 days after the shutdown ends.

“Music and community wellness are deeply linked and deeply valued by the Pittsburgh Symphony, so we hope that this offer helps to bring some respite in a time of adversity,” stated PSO president and CEO Melia Tourangeau in a press release.

The tickets are good for a number of upcoming performances, including an evening with R&B singer/producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.

Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville has also stepped in by offering free admission to movies for furloughed or working-without-pay federal workers until the shutdown ends. The theater is currently showing Steven Spielberg titles through Jan. 24 and will screen a variety of silent films from Jan. 25-31.

“It’s a difficult and frustrating time for so many families,” said Brian Mendelssohn, owner of Row House Cinema, in a press release. “We hope some uplifting movie magic will be a small relief for employees who aren’t getting paid right now.”

Update: In addition to Row House, SouthSide Works Cinema will admit federal employees and up to three additional family members to see a film of their choice every Tuesday over the course of the shutdown. Seating is limited. Offer valid exclusively at the box office.

Various restaurants are also doing their part. Walnut Grill locations throughout the region are giving a free salad, sandwich or flatbread pizza, plus a free beverage, to furloughed workers, as well as their spouses and children. My Goodness, a market focused on local food, called for $7 donations to help provide free meals to federal workers.

Update: For the avid reader, City Books is offering pay-what-you-can pricing up to $30 for government workers. The offer is good until regular pay cycles resume.

Update: Humans aren't' the only ones affected by the shutdown. Animal Friends' Chow Wagon Pet Food Bank is offering pet food assistance to furloughed employees. Contact jgeibel@thinkingoutsidethecage.org or call (412) 847-7023.

Workers must present their government-issued federal IDs to receive these offers. 

The offers add to nonprofit relief efforts for federal workers. The Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank estimates that 18,570 federal workers in its 11-county service area are affected by the shutdown. In response, the organization has been distributing emergency food boxes, fresh produce, and household items to local federal workers in need.

The Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank has also asked for additional donations and volunteers to help keep up with the added need of federal employees, many of whom have never previously received assistance from the food bank.

Do you know any gallery, business, or other establishment trying to help federal workers? Let us know.

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