SILVER SPRING, Md. — As the shutdown continues, many furloughed federal workers are scrambling to figure out how to put food on the table.
In Maryland, one community is stepping-up to answer that call with a “Shutdown Social” planned for Friday.
Montgomery County Councilman, Tom Hucker, said more than 500 people have already signed-up as attendees or volunteers. WUSA9 spoke to one of those volunteers, a restaurant owner, who said she’s also feeling the pinch.
Just two tables were being used at the popular El Golfo restaurant in Silver Spring, Md. Thursday.
"The private sector is not separate from the government. So if the government works suffer, we also suffer,” said owner Ada Villatoro.
The restaurant owner said she’s not seeing as many customers in Silver Spring, where a lot of federal workers live.
From December 22 to January 8, Maryland's Department of Labor received 1,724 applications for unemployment. These are workers affected by the shutdown, according to a Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation spokesperson.
"They don't see how this is going to end, where the off-ramp is and that's really contributing to their decisions to stay home, not spend any money, apply for unemployment,” said Councilman Hucker.
Even though El Golfo appears to be hurting right there with them, Villatoro and about 17 others restaurant owners didn't blink twice when Hucker called. They're now all cooking to help host a "Shutdown Social."
"They should know it's free for fed's and contractors. And for any neighbors around here. We want to show people how much we value our Federal workforce and make them feel that we're grateful for their service 'cause a lot of them feel like they've been sort-of maligned and, in any case, they're all pretty stressed out not knowing when they're going to get paid again,” said Hucker.
Wanting to just help them enjoy a night out, Hucker originally called for a “Potluck” at Montgomery Blair High School from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, January 11th.
However, you can't cook at the school. So local restaurants agreed to keep flame going. Villatoro plans to donate a couple hundred of their popular quesadillas.
"I feel like we're in this together,” she said.
If you do want to drop off something, bring packaged foods – something like you would donate to a food pantry.
Before you go, the Councilman asks you just RSVP so they can get a proper headcount. You can RSVP here.
Montgomery Blair High School is located at 51 University Blvd East in Silver Spring, Md. 20901.