A Minneapolis restaurant is among several businesses that are extending their welcomes to federal employees struggling as a result of the government shutdown.
In Minnesota, more than 1,000 federal workers have signed on for unemployment benefits due to the impasse in Washington, while over 3,000 state workers paid from federal grants are having their salaries paid by state funds.
Federal workers and contractors going without pay in Minnesota include those at the Farm Service Agency, Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs Home Loans division and many more.
Several Twin Cities businesses and organizations have reached out offering help to workers and families who are struggling with the sudden removal of income, among them Afro Deli in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The African restaurant announced on Wednesday that it will offer free meals to federal government workers who are either working without pay or who have been furloughed by the shutdown.
"It’s unfair what our community members are going through right now,” said Afro Deli owner Kahin Abdirahman in a statement. "We want them to know that we stand with them and will support them."
"We’re not political. We just want to do our part in supporting community members that support us every day. It’s about family and our village.” executive chef Moussa Douleh added.
Federal workers looking to take advantage of the offer should show their federal government ID at Afro Deli between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in order to get a complimentary entree.
Other organizations that are offering freebies to furloughed workers include the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum in St. Paul, which is offering free entry this Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The Science Museum is offering free admission to its exhibit gallery and Omnitheater for federal workers and up to three guests until the shutdown ends.
"We hope that our small gesture will provide them a little relief in the midst of the stress of being furloughed for an extended period of time," said Science Museum CEO Alison Rempel Brown.
CityPages has a larger list of restaurants and other attractions that are offering discounts for federal employees during the shutdown, which you can find here.