Local businesses pitch in to help furloughed government workers

Federal workers are feeling the brunt of the partial government shutdown that is stretching into its fifth week. Many workers have forgone paychecks and others are considering filing for unemployment.

To help lend support, local businesses and charitable organizations are pitching in to assist furloughed government workers during what is now the longest shutdown in American government history.

North Fork Doughnut Co. is among the area businesses lending a hand. The Mattituck shop is giving out a free doughnut and a cup of coffee to workers impacted when they show their government ID.

“It is important for us,” owner Jimmy Lyons said Friday. “It is the right thing to do in this chaotic time for people in this community. We rely on each other and giving back is something we believe in.”

Mr. Lyons said the company regularly donates the day’s leftover doughnuts to area food banks and was inspired to start offering free goods to impacted workers by a coffee shop in Valley Stream doing the same.

“I thought it was a really good idea,” he said, noting that only one person as taken advantage of the offer since the special began Monday.

The offer is available until the shutdown ends, he said.

Sassy Salads & Bagel Lady Café in Shoreham is also one of a growing number of businesses across Long Island and the country to offer services and goods on the house during the shutdown.

The bagel shop is offering workers with government IDs a dozen complimentary bagels, butter and cream cheese.

Tanger Outlets locations, including in Riverhead, is offering a free $20 gift card for employees of government agencies and departments from now through Jan. 28.

Little Free Pantry is also sufficiently stocked at Adams Street municipal parking lot between First and Main streets in Greenport. Resident Penelope Rudder created the Little Free Pantry in 2018 as a place where residents can take nonperishable food items, toiletries and other household goods. She said she’s been restocking the pantry a couple times a day to meet increased need.

“The philosophy is that the pantry is opened 24/7,” Ms. Rudder said. “There are so many hardships in life where people don’t have hope whether it is cold weather or whatever else is going on in their lives I wanted everyone to come and go without fear of judgment.”

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Photo caption: North Fork Doughnut Co. in Mattituck is offering a free doughnut and a coffee to those affected. (Cyndi Zaweski photo)

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