As the partial government shutdown drags on, federal employees not collecting a paycheck are getting a bit of help in the shape of a loaf.
All three Great Harvest Bread Company locations in the metro are offering free loaves of bread to those affected. Owner Marian Cihacek tells NewsRadio 1110 KFAB that it is a small way to help out. "We call this the 'Shutdown Shelf' and it is a place where families that have been affected and not gotten their paychecks can come in a get a loaf of bread. You don't think of there being federal employees in Omaha, but there are a lot. So, it's a way for them to come and get a loaf of bread to feed their families and then maybe that will free some money up."
Cihacek says they saw another bakery in the Great Harvest chain family doing the 'Shutdown Shelf' and thought it was a great idea. "We jumped right on it. We saw it on Monday and by Tuesday we had our Shutdown Shelf set up. We're just really excited to be able to share this idea with the community cause it just touches everyone's heart."
The bakery store owner says she is happy she can help in any way. "It's just is the right thing to do for people that are in this situation, through no fault of their own. We just feel like, it doesn't matter which side of the political fence you sit on, it's the right thing to do to help folks out."
Cihacek says the shelf started with free loaves they were offering, but now customers are wanting to help out too. "It is amazing to me to how when our customers see this, so many of them say, 'Oh, put an extra loaf on my tab, I'd like to buy a loaf for the Shutdown Shelf.' so, people are actually buying loaves to contribute to it."
Whenever a loaf is donated by another customer, Cihacek says they make sure the recipients know who the bread came from. "We hand write a sticker that we put on it that says 'Donated by One Of Our Generous Customers' because we want people to know that it's the community that's supporting them. It's not just our little business, it's the community supporting them."
The Shutdown Shelf will be available until the shutdown ends and federal employees start receiving their paychecks.