José Andrés opening free kitchen for federal workers

Impact of government shutdown grows

José Andrés is ready to serve federal workers worried about their next meal. The celebrity chef announced Monday he’s opening a free relief kitchen in Washington, D.C., this week for the employees furloughed during the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

“Today we face another type of disaster emergency in the United States,” Andrés said in a Twitter video announcing the initiative. 

“We believe that no person should have to go through the pain of not knowing what to feed the children,” he added.

Andrés said he hopes the kitchen will also be “a call to action” to President Trump and Congress to work together and end the shutdown, which has spanned 24 days and counting.

“We should always come together as we the people, as Americans, bipartisan,” he said.

The “Chefs for Feds” feeding site will open Wednesday at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, about a 20-minute walk from the White House and U.S. Capitol. It will serve workers daily between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

About 800,000 workers have been furloughed since December, and last week missed their first paychecks since the shutdown started. Many had already been working without pay and worrying about how to afford basic necessities as the shutdown shows no signs of ending soon.

The Washington metro area has the largest concentration of federal workers in the nation, with about one-sixth of the workforce living there.

Andrés owns several restaurants in Washington, and his World Central Kitchen nonprofit has served free meals around the world in areas struck by disaster. Rep. John Delaney nominated Andrés for this year’s Noble Peace Prize for his kitchen’s work in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Andrés has been openly critical of Mr. Trump for years. He once planned to open a restaurant in Mr. Trump’s new Washington hotel, but pulled out in 2015 over Mr. Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants in his presidential campaign announcement. That led to a $10 million lawsuit from Trump and an $8 million countersuit by Andrés. They eventually settled out of court on undisclosed terms.

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Categories: Government & Politics

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