These Businesses (and People) Are Giving Federal Workers Free Food
Chef and part-time superhero José Andrés was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless efforts to feed Puerto Rico, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and California following natural disasters — but he isn’t stopping there. On January 16, Andrés’ nonprofit World Central Kitchen will open a temporary kitchen in Washington, D.C., to feed federal employees affected by the government shutdown.
The pop-up, dubbed #ChefsForFeds, will serve a rotating menu of free sandwiches, soups and salads for government workers and their families every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW near the U.S. Navy Memorial. Andrés, who first made his name as a D.C. restaurateur in the 1990s, is hoping that the kitchen’s proximity to the White House and U.S. Capitol urges lawmakers to take action.
“I hope it will be a call to action to our senators and congressmen and especially President Trump to make sure we end this moment in the history of America, where families are about to go hungry,” Andrés said in a video posted to Twitter. “We should always come together as ‘We The People.’ As Americans. Bi-partisan. Republicans and Democrats. All Americans.”
The #ChefsForFeds kitchen is currently looking for volunteers. Anyone who is interested in helping out can email firstname.lastname@example.org. The new initiative does not affect the existing free sandwich giveaway for federal workers at Andrés American Eats, China Chilcano, Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya restaurants. (Each restaurant has been handing out free sandwiches from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily.) So far, the humanitarian-chef has spent an estimated $50,000 feeding government employees, according to The Washington Post.
“I’ve been in the business 25 years because of federal workers,” he told the outlet. “The least I can do is be there for them when they need us.”
Another act of kindness came from Canadian air traffic controllers who felt sorry for colleagues across the border working without pay. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, units in Gander and Moncton ordered 32 pizzas for a crew working at the control center in Ronkonkoma, New York, on January 11. The generous donation inspired other units to send cheesy pies to at least 35 centers in the U.S. including those in Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis and Cleveland, Mashable reports.
Other entities around the country are helping out where they can, including Montclair Bread Company in New Jersey, where an estimated 5,000 federal workers are currently without pay. The bakery is offering them a cup of drip coffee and a sandwich or loaf of bread for free at 16 Label St. and 237 Lorraine Ave. in Montclair.
“My dad, brother and two of my aunts are government employees,” owner Rachel Wyman told Patch.com. “I’m happy to have something I can share with my community. It’s the right thing to do.”
On January 17, the bakery is heading to Newark Airport to deliver free coffee and doughnuts to the 500 TSA employees at Newark Airport, who are currently working without pay due to the shutdown.
“There are good people doing great work in this country,” Wyman said in a press release. “For those of us in the industry, feeding people is the best way we know how to help.”
A brewery in Chicago, Illinois, is also offering food to furloughed government workers. In a Facebook post, Horse Thief Hollow Brewing Company announced free lunch for all unpaid federal employees from January 14 to January 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. at 10426 S. Western Ave.
“Why? No matter which side of the aisle you stand on, NO ONE should have to go without pay for weeks at a time to satisfy political ideologies or egos,” the brewery wrote on Facebook. “The welfare of hardworking Americans should not be jeopardized or exploited for political gain. DO YOU HEAR US, Donald J. Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Mitch McConnell, and Senator Chuck Schumer?”
Here are some more places offering free food to furloughed federal workers:
- Yassin’s Falafel House in Knoxville, Tennessee, is offering free meals to government workers and their families, “[especially] the kids because we don’t want them to have a bad feeling about what's going on,” owner Yassin Terou wrote on Facebook.
- Kraft-Heinz opened a pop-up in Washington, D.C., where workers can stock up on Kraft Mac & Cheese, salad dressing, mayo and cheese.
- Lakeview Pantry in Chicago’s North Side is giving away two weeks of groceries for free to each person affected by the shutdown.
- Fazoli’s restaurants across the country are offering a free Pizza Baked Spaghetti dish with the purchase of a drink until January 20. Call ahead to make sure yours honors the deal though, because a press release says “participating locations” only.
- Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours in Atlanta, Georgia, is offering workers and their families a free meal of Southern classics on January 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu includes cast-iron-fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, fried fish, red beans and rice and more.
The current government shutdown began on December 22 due to a dispute over funding for the president’s proposed border wall. It is the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Luckily, José Andrés and company know how to help out those in need. If you want to get in on some good karma in 2019, you can try one of these 55 ways to fight hunger in America.