Washington: A renowned Spanish chef`s humanitarian assistance organisation has distributed soup and sandwiches here to dozens of US federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown. Chef Jose Andres` World Central Kitchen, which has provided food in Haiti to people affected by the devastating 2010 earthquake and in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, has turned its attention to helping out US federal workers who have received no pay as the shutdown entered its 26th day on Wednesday, reports Efe news.
The Michelin star chef said that he considers the government shutdown to be "another kind of emergency", noting that about 800,000 federal workers are not receiving their pay since Congress and President Donald Trump have not been able to agree on certain parts of the federal budget especially his call for a border wall.
Office workers, US Park Police and other federal contractors and government staffers lined up a few at a time to get the lunch handouts - with that line gradually growing until it crossed Pennsylvania Avenue. "We need help," a federal worker told Efe, noting that the partial shutdown is having a human impact, adding that the government never should have shut down.
Another worker identified himself, complained about the "negative impact" that the situation is having on families, neighbours and the country as a whole, adding that he was "frustrated" by the whole thing.
One of the chefs, Tim Kilcoyne, owner of the Scratch Food truck in Ventura, California, said he had come to Washington to help those suffering because of the shutdown and told Efe that they had prepared food for some 2,000 people.
The lunches would normally cost between $8 and $10 each, but they were being served free to any and all federal workers who showed up.