LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It has been nearly a month since the start of the government shutdown. And with no end in sight, people across the country are stepping up to help government workers who are not being paid.

The shutdown started Dec. 22 and stems from an impasse over President Donald Trump's demand for $5.6 billion in federal funds for a border wall at the southern border of the U.S.

Barry Burcaw, who is retired and lives in Louisville, appreciates the dedication from federal workers who are still on the job, but he does not like or agree with what they're being asked to do. During his career, Burcaw said he saw the level of stress facing some FAA employees.

"I was in the Air Force. I went to flight school. I spent an hour, a whole day, in the air traffic control center just to be knowledgeable. Very stressful job," Burcaw said. "And they were helping to control my separation in the air, and now they gotta worry about feeding their family or paying their rent or losing their home or losing their car."

Some in Louisville are stepping up to help those struggling workers.

On Thursday of this week and Monday of next week, 610 Magnolia and several other Kentuckiana restaurants are extending an invitation to federal workers.

"We're in hospitality business, so we are doing what we know best and that's to feed," said Liz Miller, general manager 610 Magnolia.

It might not save a home or car, but restaurants like 610 Magnolia are trying to help in other ways. Miller is the general manager but the restaurant is owned by Chef Edward Lee.

"Chef Lee, he loves to give back and help others," Miller said. "And so last week, with our sister restaurant, Whiskey Dry, we took food to the TSA agents at the airport.

"We are doing a lasagna dinner. There's also going to be a salad and soft drinks. We are also offering bag lunches that people can take with them. People can also call ahead to take meals to go."

And the generosity for federal workers is widespread.

Pastor Dr. Jamal Bryant, the newly appointed senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta, asked parishioners to pray after more than two-dozen people recently sought help. Members prayed, and then they opened their hearts and wallets.

"I was absolutely blown away," Bryant said. "I've only been here a month and had no idea that compassion is this high in Atlanta."

Members of the mega church gave fellow members affected by the shutdown about $300 each. Bryant said there was some regret but only from those who were not there to give.

"You can't imagine how many people said, 'Oh, I missed last Sunday. You all going to do it again?'" Bryant said.

Despite the sympathy and generosity, a lot of federal workers are becoming frustrated. Ninety FAA employees in Louisville are furloughed right now and are not performing safety oversight checks.

Air traffic controllers and technicians, who maintain air traffic control equipment, are still required to report to work during the shutdown. However, they aren't being paid.

The federal employees don't want Louisville travelers to forget about the financial burden this has put on their families. That's why you'll see workers holding signs outside the terminal this week.

They're begging for the shutdown to end.

"I can say morale is definitely down," said Nancy Morrison, an aviation transportation system specialist. "People want to get paid. We do an honest day’s work, and we want to be paid."

Meanwhile, below are a list of restaurants in Louisville, Lexington and New Albany extending the dinner and lunch invitation to federal employees:


Free Federal Super Saver Lunch Special on Thursday, Jan. 17, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., for federal employees with valid federal ID at:

  • Windy Corner Market, 4595 Bryan Station Road, Lexington
  • Zim’s Cafe, 215 West Main Street, Lexington
  • Smithtown Seafood, 501 West Sixth Street, Lexington
  • Smithtown at the Summit, 119 Marion Street, Suite 160, Lexington
  • Wallace Station Deli, 3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles

Free Spaghetti & Meatball Dinner to federal employees and their families on Monday, Jan. 21, from 4-6 p.m.

  • Holly Hill Inn, 426 North Winter Street, Midway


Ryan Rogers of HiCotton Hospitality is offering free meals at all of his restaurant locations on Thursday, Jan. 17:

  • Bar Vetti, 800 S. Fourh St., Louisville
    • Small pizza and soup or salad combo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for federal employees with valid federal ID
  • Feast BBQ, 909 E Market St., Suite 100, Louisville
  • Feast BBQ, 10318 Taylorsville Rd., Louisville
    • Free barbecue sandwich, side and soft drink from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for federal employees with valid federal ID
  • Royals Hot Chicken, 736 E Market S.t, Louisville 
    • Two chicken tenders, dipping sauce, side and soft drink for federal employees with valid federal ID

Edward Lee will be offering all unpaid federal employees with valid federal ID a free family meal from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 and also a free dinner on Monday, Jan. 21.

  • 610 Magnolia, 610 West Magnolia Ave., Louisville
    • Free family meal with homemade lasagna, salad, and soft drinks, and bag lunches available for pick up during the dinner 
    • Please call to reserve: 502-636-0783

New Albany:

Joe Phillips will be offering free dinner at his restaurant, Pints & Union on Thursday, Jan. 17

  • Pints & Union, 114 East Market St., New Albany
    • Free dinner from 4-6 p.m. for federal employees with valid federal ID
    • Free lunch from 12-2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, for federal employees with valid federal ID
    • Must show Federal ID and please call to reserve 812-913-4647

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