It was a nice change of pace for Gen Torres and her family, as they shared a pizza together at Poor Richard’s–in downtown Colorado Springs.
“We’ve just been sitting at home and figured it was a good day to come downtown, have some lunch, and walk around for a little bit,” Torres told News5.
She’s one of Colorado’s 52,000 federal workers, and has been temporarily out of work since December 22nd.
“I am considered non-essential, so I just have to sit at home.”
But Thursday, her family had an excuse to leave the house.
Poor Richard’s is now offering free daily meals to government workers–and their families–affected by the shutdown.
“It’s a terrible situtation when you know you have to work but you’re furloughed and know you’re not going to get paid.”
“They have a place to come and get a free meal and be able to be with their families and not have to worry about their finances as much,” said Poor Richard’s owner Richard Skorman.
“It’s a terrible situtation when you know you have to work but you’re furloughed and know you’re not going to get paid,” he added.
The Department of Labor and Unemployment says 370 federal workers have filed for unemployment in Colorado so far.
Torres hopes she won’t have to add to that number.
“[I] Probably won’t do the unemployment, unless it does go on for much longer–so we’ll see. I really hoped it wouldn’t last this long. But when they say ‘it’s over, it’s over.'”
For now, she’s grateful for the helping hand.
“It just shows how much Colorado Springs has the community factor to it.”
Skorman says he’s already had several people from the community reach out to him, wanting to donate money.
He says, ideally, he wants to continue serving meals to these families for the duration of the shutdown–and will do this as long as he can.
If you are a federal employee, looking to file for unemployment, click here.