There’s no such thing as a free lunch? There is now as restaurants across the country offer free meals to furloughed federal employees during the government shutdown.
In northern Kentucky, it’s free barbecue. In Indiana, it’s pizza on the house.
On Thursday, Poor Richard’s restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs started giving away free meals, too, and encouraged other restaurants to do the same.
“NOT being paid during this Government shutdown!” the restaurant posted on its Facebook page.
“For every week of the government partial shutdown, with government employees not being paid…Poor Richard’s Restaurant will give a FREE meal to those employees and their families.”
“Just present your Government ID at the Restaurant register and your meals are on us! We urge other businesses to follow suit! We hope this undue hardship facing our loyal government employees ends soon!
The restaurant is owned by Colorado Springs City Council President Richard Skorman, KOAA in Colorado Springs reported.
The shutdown that began at midnight on Dec. 22 put about 800,000 federal workers “in financial limbo as politicians in Washington struggle to come to an agreement on U.S. border protections,” CNBC reports.
Restaurants in Washington, D.C. began offering freebies and discounts within hours of the shutdown, a list that included free sandwiches, free meatball sliders, free coffee, drink specials and extended happy hours, according to WTOP in Washington, D.C.
Miles away from shutdown Ground Zero, Guy Cummins is giving away free meals at Smokin’ This and That BBQ in Florence, Kentucky, which he owns with his wife, Mandy.
“When I was a kid growing up, this is what you did when someone was down and out, you helped them,” he told WLWT. “So we’re feeding all the government employees until they go back to work. However long it lasts, it lasts.”
In Indianapolis, restaurant owner Neal Brown told WTHR that restaurants are all about serving people, and offering free meals to government employees affected by the shutdown seemed like the right thing to do.
“I think a lot of it stems from New Years, right? The feelings we all get from the new year, I think we all kind of think, ‘how can we be better in this next year,’” said Brown, who owns three restaurants including Pizzology, which serves craft pizza.
“I know there are a lot of people who are going through a rough time right now.”
In St. Ignace, Michigan, Joe Durm didn’t hide his anger when he talked about offering free breakfasts to members of the Coast Guard during the shutdown, an offer announced on Facebook two days after Christmas.
“They have car payments now, they have house payments now, they have to pay for their kids’ braces now,” Durm, the owner of Java Joe’s Café, told WPBN. “This is what irritates me to no end.”
The Coast Guard, Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security worked out a way to get paychecks to the Coast Guard workforce on Dec. 31, according to a Coast Guard All Hands post.
“I don’t care people’s politics when it comes to who wants to eat good food and take their mind off these kinds of things,” Brown told WTHR. “When you see people that are disadvantaged or have a rough situation happening, we’re just in a unique position to help.”