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Free pizza for federal workers in Lompoc as government shutdown drags on

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 22:53:39-05

Thursday marked day 20 of the government shutdown and paychecks for federal employees are nowhere in sight.

The Lompoc community and others surrounding the city are coming together to support local federal employees who might be without pay this week.

One business is serving up free lunch while another is letting those workers pay their monthly bills at a later date.

Some of the 800,000 federal employees financially impacted by the government shutdown include a handful of unpaid workers at the Lompoc Penitentiary.

However, there is some relief for those living in Vandenberg Village. Federal workers there can hold off on paying some of their upcoming bills.

“We generally ask for them to come in with a letter from their employer saying that they are affected by the federal shutdown,” said Cynthia Allen, Vandenberg Village CSD Administrative Services Manager. “We have been told by our customers that the Department of Defense is not affected but Bureau of Prisons is, so it’s mostly prison guards that are coming in.”

It almost works like an IOU with no late fees or service interruptions, but customers will eventually have to pay their bill.

“We try to work with our customers,” Allen said. “We would rather them have water, otherwise it is a health and safety issue.”

Wild West Pizza and Grill is offering free meals for furloughed or unpaid workers.

Owner David Goldy says it’s the least he can do.

“A lot of people just saying ‘thank you,'” Goldy said. “A lot of the guards said it was a great gesture to their morale because a lot of them have to go to work but are not bringing any money home.”

Thursday, many took to the streets of Washington, calling for an end to the shutdown.

Friday would normally be payday.

“It really hurts. We can’t pay our bills and doctors, mortgages,” said Jim Gregory, a federal employee.

Members of Congress don’t look likely to reach an agreement soon.

“The people that will be paid but maybe a little bit later, many of them are on my side,” said President Donald Trump. “They want to see border security.”

With no end in sight, Wild West Pizza and Grill could be giving out free pizzas for a long time and could lose out on profit, but Goldy says it doesn’t matter.

“The community supports us 365 days a year and we try to give back a lot and when we give back, I feel like it comes back to us through good will so it is worth it,” Gold said.

Lompoc city officials say they are still trying to address how to deal with bill payment concerns for those employees impacted by the shutdown.

Vandenberg Village CSD also offers a 12-month payment plan if federal employees need more time to pay their bills.

Wild West Pizza and Grill will be offering free meals until the government is back open.