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The shutdown is inspiring acts of kindness for federal workers

Adriana Belmonte
Associate Editor

As federal employees feel the ramifications of the government shutdown, places across the country are stepping up to help where they can.

Here are some of the ways that Americans are offering kindness to furloughed federal workers:

  • On Jan. 15, Kraft Heinz Co. announced that it was opening a pop-up grocery store in D.C. through Saturday, Jan. 19. The store offers federal workers unlimited free Kraft food products, and is called “Kraft Now Pay Later.” According to Fox Business, “it will allow federal workers to stock up on the company’s staples such as its famous mac and cheese mix and other items for free.”
  • A group of individuals created a website called “PayItFurloughed.com.” People can donate $7.50 on the website to cover the cost of a local craft beer for a furloughed worker. “Those employees can then go into participating breweries to enjoy the pre-paid beverages with a federal ID,” USA Today reported.
Tristan Hearn reaches for four Stouffers meals, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, in Solon, Ohio. Federal workers who are furloughed received four free meals courtesy of Stouffer’s, one of the acts of kindness for federal workers amid the shutdown. (Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
  • Many local establishments in Virginia are stepping up. At Plaza del Sol, a Mexican restaurant based in Virginia, federal workers can eat free tacos, thanks to the kindness of the restaurant’s owner. The YMCA of South Hampton Roads is waiving its January fees for those impacted by the shutdown. Kahiau’s Bakery and Cafe is giving a free bagel or breakfast sandwich to furloughed employees, as long as they have a government ID. A Destruction Room is allowing furloughed workers to smash items at no cost. And Push Comedy Theater is performing free shows for workers on furlough.
  • In Suffolk County, New York, the local SPCA chapter is offering free pet food to federal workers and their families for as long as supplies last.
  • In a Facebook post, Stefano’s Pizza Express in Texas announced that it is serving free pizza to federal employees, as long as they show their government IDs.
  • Filmmaker Michael Moore is allowing free entry and refreshments at his two movie theatres in Michigan for federal workers and their families.
  • Ruby Slipper Cafe, a restaurant chain with locations in Louisiana, Florida, and Alabama, stated on Twitter that federal employees and their families can receive a free entree and beverage if they show their government IDs.
Tony Mertin packages hot meals at the Chef Creole restaurant at Miami International Airport, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Miami. The restaurant is offering free lunch and dinner to federal airport employees, one of the acts of kindness for federal workers. (Photo: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
  • Verizon (Yahoo Finance’s parent company) is waiving late fees and agent assist fees for federal employees affected by the shutdown and is offering flexible payment options for those customers. AT&T is also waiving late fees and providing extensions to furloughed workers, along with providing revised payment schedules.
  • Over in Chicago, one restaurant is featuring a “shutdown special” this week, “giving a free lunch valued at up to $15 to furloughed workers with their government ID,” according to the Chicago Tribune. The Adler Planetarium is giving these workers two free general admission passes each. And, a food pantry is allowing workers to receive two weeks worth of free groceries.
Acts of kindness for federal workers increase as the shutdown drags on. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
    • In The Big Apple, local businesses are doing their part. At Fort Greene’s Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Rose Cinema, federal workers can get free movie tickets to the matinee each day. The Museum of the Moving Image is offering free admission and Blu Cafe is serving free coffee. And, according to Patch, federal employees can schedule a 1-hour massage at either Massage Williamsburg, Massage Greenpoint, or Massage Outpost.
    • A church in Dallas, Texas, is handing out gift cards to furloughed employees, ABC News reported.
    • Food pantries across the country are pitching in to make sure government workers are being fed.
  • Chef Jose Andres has launched #ChefsForFeds, an initiative to ensure that federal workers in the D.C. area will still have food to eat while on furlough.
  • In Knoxville, Tenn., a Syrian refugee offering free meals at his restaurant, Yassin’s Falafel House. On “Good Morning America,” he said: “It’s important for me [to provide free meals] because these guys are our brothers and sisters, and they already did the work, and they aren’t getting paid. For someone like me who is living the American dream in the American land…I believe every hard worker should reach his goal and have a good level of life.”

Adriana is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.

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