government shutdown nyc

A sign saying the area is closed hangs on the Federal Hall Memorial National Historic Site in Wall Street. As the federal government shutdown stretches on, the impact is being felt by government employees and by federally run sites, parks, and museums across the country.

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Throughout the partial government shutdown, New York City businesses have stepped up to offer free food and services to furloughed federal employees. Now, federal workers in the area have even more chances to receive support with two initiatives to give out free meals on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, New York City federal employees affected by the government shutdown can head to Melba’s in Harlem for a free sit-down meal.

TV and radio personality Bevy Smith will help Melba Wilson, a Harlem native, as she opens up her restaurant, located at 300 W 114th Street, to federal workers.

Smith, Wilson and fashion designer and fellow Harlem native Dapper Dan will greet guests and offer a complimentary buffet-style lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Federal employees will need to show their government ID to receive the lunch, which will  southern fried catfish, BBQ chicken, peas and rice, sautéed string beans, mesclun salad and buttery cornbread. There will also be a vegan option provided.

federal employees free meals government shutdown nyc
Facebook/Melba's Restaurant

If Harlem is too much of a hike, federal employees can also swing by Barclays Center, where Food Bank for New York City will host a pop-up site from noon to 3 p.m., with the support of Stop & Shop resources and staff.

That distribution site will provide food, vital products and other resources for furloughed federal employees who may be struggling to make ends meet as they soon face yet another missed paycheck during the government shutdown. The meals were prepared by volunteers during Food Bank’s MLK Day of Service.

Food Bank staff will also be onsite to help connect federal workers with food pantries and soup kitchens in their own neighborhoods across the five boroughs for ongoing support, according to the organization.

Government shutdown affect on NYC

Across the country, the continued government shutdown is affecting more than 800,000 federal employees. In New York City alone, about 50,000 workers are going without pay and “at minimum,” 2 million New Yorkers stand to lose vital programs such as food stamps, school lunch and rental assistance, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.

“The government shutdown has already meant thousands of federal workers and contractors remain unpaid, disrupting the lives and tightening the daily household budgets of many who are living paycheck-to-paycheck,” said Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of Food Bank For New York City, in an earlier statement to Metro. 

Though New York City food pantries are stepping up, she said, there’s only so much they can do, especially as the government shutdown threatens a “damaging ripple effect on vulnerable, low-income families who rely on food assistance programs like SNAP, WIC, and TEFAP (commodities).”

“With 1.6 million New York City residents relying on SNAP, the heroic efforts of our city’s food pantries and soup kitchens will not be enough to feed every New Yorker who rely on this program,” she added. "We are working closely with government agencies to better understand the implications if the shutdown lasts into February and urge all New Yorkers to contact their elected officials and let them know that the city’s emergency food network cannot bear the brunt of political gridlock."

Check out more on what New York City businesses are offering local federal workers here.  

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