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Morro Bay restaurant feeds furloughed federal employees despite slump in Winter sales

Posted at 7:05 PM, Jan 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-28 00:07:10-05

The deal to temporarily re-open the government does not eliminate financial woes for federal employees but several Central Coast businesses, including a restaurant in Morro Bay, are stepping up to help.

“We’re family owned and operated,” Grill Hut Co-owner Lori Scheer. “BBQ and smoked meat is mostly what we specialize in.”

Since Lori and Jason Scheer put down roots on the Central Coast a few years ago, they say they have felt the warmest of welcomes. Now the Scheers believe it’s their turn to serve up a warm meal to furloughed government workers.

“Nobody should ever go hungry,” Jason Scheer said.

The move to offer complimentary meals to federal employees and their families was inspiring for Katy Belcher, an employee at Grill Hut.

“Everyone has the right words, but not often do people actually lead by example, actually do the things they say,” Belcher said.

Belcher said that in her time at Grill Hut, her employers and customers have become family.

Grill Hut has long offered discounted and free food to veterans and the homeless, but they decided that gesture should be extended to government workers as they await a paycheck amid the government shutdown.

Even though the government was temporarily funded Friday with a 3-week deal announced Friday, most federal employees have yet to be paid and the threat of another shutdown in February still looms.

“If it goes back into a government shutdown, we’re back giving,” Jason Scheer said.

It’s a fountain of generosity that doesn’t dry up even with a drought in sales.

“It’s a challenge, it’s a lot of work,” Jason Scheer said. “It’s very tough in this little community. There’s 10,000 people and they don’t eat out everyday. So it’s a struggle in the Winter time.”

“This is a struggling restaurant, they don’t have deep pockets by any means,” Belcher said. “And yet they would never turn anyone away for being hungry.”

“We just feel like we’ve been so blessed throughout our life, we want to do that for others as well,” Lori Scheer said.

The Coast Guard stationed in Morro Bay confirmed that the Scheers brought them groceries Saturday night but could not comment further for this story.

The Scheers said their act of kindness has been contagious and people in the community who’ve heard of the deal have chipped in to help them continue giving.

Through the next three weeks, Grill Hut will continue offering free meals to federal workers and their families.

Other locations that continue to offer free food to affected federal employees include 7 Sisters Brewery in San Luis Obispo, which is offering a free grilled cheese, and the South County Food Bank.