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What’s free for Chicago’s federal workers during the shutdown

Federal workers

Nancy Pelosi, having been there before, understood the impact and political optics of the shutdown. | Getty Images

More than 8,000 federal employees who live in Illinois have been affected by the partial shutdown that began Dec. 22. In response, many local businesses and organizations are offering free and discounted goods and services to help support residents feeling the crunch. Here are some local offers available to federal employees during the furlough.

Events and things to do

The Adler Planetarium is offering free general admission passes that include access to all exhibits every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for federal workers for the duration of the shutdown.

The Shedd Aquarium is offering free admission to federal workers and their families for the duration of the shutdown. To get in, you just need to show your federal government ID at the door. The deal covers two adults and children under 12.

Second City is inviting furloughed employees to a free class and free meal at its 1959 Kitchen & Bar, and free general admission to seven shows that are currently playing. The improv classes take place at 5:30 p.m. every Friday and 7 p.m. on Sundays.

Furloughed federal employees can retrieve up to four free tickets from the Auditorium Theatre to “National Geographic Live — Pink Boots and a Machete” on Thursday. Tickets should be picked up from the box office any time after 10 a.m. and before the 7 p.m. show.

The Brown Paper Box Co. is offering free tickets to federal employees with a valid government ID to select performances of “Little Women the Musical.”

Federal employees can show up to wndr Museum with their government-issued ID for a day of fun with one guest until the shutdown ends.

Kohl’s Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago invites families affected by the federal shutdown to enjoy four free tickets daily.

Meals and groceries

BJ’s Market & Bakery, 1156 W 79th St., is offering free dinners to federal employees and their immediate families during the shutdown. To get a meal, a government ID is required.

Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea is offering federal workers with a valid government ID one free pour over coffee per day during the shutdown.

Lakeview Pantry is offering any furloughed worker two weeks worth of free groceries. Workers must present a valid government ID to receive the groceries.

The Village of Mount Prospect is offering access to their food pantry for federal employees who live in the village. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the Mount Prospect Human Services Department at 847-870-5680.

For the past week, Porkchop BBQ has been serving meals for 50 percent off to all federal workers affected by the government shutdown. The restaurant vows to keep the promotion running until the shutdown ends.

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