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Free meals for furloughed workers at bakery

Oct. 13, 2013 @ 12:19 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Kim Baker, owner of the River and Rail Bakery in Heritage Station, said she knows there are people having a hard time as a result of the partial government shutdown because many of those people are patrons of her restaurant.

That's why Baker has offered free meals to federal employees each Wednesday since the shutdown and subsequent furloughs went into effect on Oct. 1.

She just so happened to have "an abundance" of bratwust she and her staff had prepared for another event that didn't sell out.

"We just had more food than we could reasonably deal with," she said. "We just thought about those people, and we decided this was something we could offer to them."

She said between 10 and 12 people came out for the free bratwurst sandwiches on Oct. 2, and slightly fewer people came out for free beans, cornbread and collard greens on Oct. 9.

She already is planning on what to prepare on Wednesday, Oct. 16, if the shutdown continues.

"A lot of furloughed employees are used to being downtown, so they come here for lunch," she said. "Now that they aren't coming to work, they can't make it downtown o come here, but we still will offer it."

In the meantime, Baker said she has received a gushing community response for the effort, and she said she would be very encouraged to see other businesses help out in their own ways.

"One guy said, 'You can't stay in business if you give out food for free,'" she said. "My feeling on that is that we are one community, and we have to support each other. I'm not at all worried about what he said. I think it would be nice if other restaurants pick other days and offer something similar, but I'm also not going to say, 'Because I did this, you should do this.' That's not the way it works.

"My idea is that this is what we did, and everyone can take from it what they want."

River and Rail Bakery is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Saturday.

For more information, visit www.riverandrailbakery.com.

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