Chef pledges to give free hot lunches to federal workers after shutdown deal

Local chef continues to feed government workers after shutdown

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The longest-ever shutdown of the U.S. government ended last week when President Trump signed a continuing resolution that provides funding until Feb. 15.

Even with that temporary resolution, a Wilmington chef is still rallying around federal workers in his community who have missed more than a month of pay.

“We started feeding government workers when they were in need, missing paychecks," said chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant. "About 60 percent of the folks I heard lived paycheck to paycheck, and I just couldn’t imagine that,”

Last week, Rhodes and other local chefs participated in the Chefs for Feds campaign, a nationwide campaign to provide hot meals to federal employees and their families.

“Even though the shutdown is over, these folks are still feeling the repercussions," Rhodes said. "We know some will get back pay but that doesn’t affect right now, so we need to continue our efforts as they are still feeling the aftershock.”

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Rhodes provides a free hot lunch buffet to government workers and their families. All you have to do is present a government ID.

“I hope this helps take the ease off of everything else," Rhodes said. "When you are worried about paying a mortgage or putting gas in the car, you can just all jump in the car, come down and eat lunch. It’s just about community solidarity.”

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