More than 800,000 federal workers were not paid this Friday due to the partial government shutdown.
It is unclear how long the shutdown will last, but once it’s over, the government says those impacted will get back pay.
In the meantime, local businesses in Colorado Springs are stepping up to the plate.
Poor Richard’s is offering free meals to federal employees and their families.
Since the shutdown began, the restaurant says more than 200 people have taken advantage of their offer.
“I can’t tell you how many people have come up teary-eyed saying ‘We really appreciate you doing this,'” owner Richard Skorman said.
Poor Richard’s customers have also donated money to the restaurant in support of the cause.
“This whole community is reaching out,” Skorman said. “I’ve gotten 40-50 donations. Five-year-old girl even came with her allowance money.”
Pikes Peak United Way’s phones have been ringing off the hook since Friday.
Their 211 line is dedicated to putting people impacted by the shutdown in contact with resources like child care services, food pantries, utility assistance, and more.
“I would say there is some frustration, but also that feeling of lack of control, not knowing of what’s going to happen, and that unknown is scary for people that we serve,” said Deana Hunt with Pikes Peak United Way.
Mortgage and rental assistance are not available at the moment.
Other places in town are also helping federal employees.
- Participating Fazoli’s locations are inviting all furloughed federal government employees with a valid ID to come in for a free pizza baked spaghetti with the purchase of a drink.
- Ecumenical Social Ministries is opening its food pantry to all furloughed federal employees and active-duty military.
- ENT bank is offering no-interest 90-Day Single Pay Loan which will allow federal employees to borrow up to the amount of their last federal payroll direct deposit (up to a maximum of $7,500).
- Happy Cats Haven is giving away free cat food to furloughed employees any day this week from 11-12 and Sunday from 3-4.
- Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment says approximately 53,200 federal workers may be eligible for jobless benefits.