CINCINNATI, Ohio – Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and Cincinnati-area non-profit La Soupe provided hundreds of families a free meal.

  • 2,000 people helped
  • Food pickup service will be offered again next week
  • Area chefs volunteered to make the meal

The families are being affected by the partial government shutdown.

Tony Morris is a contract worker for the Environmental Protection Agency. He and his wife and daughter visited Cincinnati State's Summit Restaurant Thursday for a meal. They learned about it from a friend and co-worker.

“We had a meal plan which we can save for another night,” Morris told Spectrum News 1.

Morris has been looking for another job, a requirement for his unemployment benefits. He says if the partial government shutdown continues much longer he'll have to seriously consider some offers to take another job.

“I do like the company we are at and they said they were sorry they couldn't do anything more. But they said we could file for unemployment and part of that requirement is we're required to look for jobs. If this is going to be a longterm game and if I hear anything back I'm definitely going to consider. And I know it's no fault of our company.”

Morris said mid-February was a point he'd have to probably take another job.

For now, his wife's income and community support like Thursday's dinner help.

“It's been pretty good. The other night this lady at our church gave me $170 worth of gift cards.”

Chefs from around southwest Ohio helped prepare the meal at the restaurant and the Freestore Foodbank provided a full pantry that allowed federal workers to pick up free bags of food at The Summit's valet area.

It's been so successful, the group is going to do another free food pick up on Jan. 30 and 31 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Any federal worker is permitted to grab food at the Summit's valet service area on the campus of Cincinnati State.

Allison Hines is a former flight attendant and volunteers with La Soupe, an organization that rescues restaurant food waste and turns it into meals for those in need, has fed thousands of people through the years.

This week, more than 2,000 federal workers have been assisted through volunteer efforts.

“With our federal workers, we connected with the TSA, we connected with the FAA, we have connected with the IRS and we just got the word out,” said Hines. And Cincinnati State has been a huge, wonderful partner and Midwest Culinary. And they have really reached out to us and given us the facilities, so, that not only could we prepare food to take out to all of those federal entities, but to make sure everyone had a place to commune here and have a meal.”

Hines said transportation officials at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport indicated the airport has some of the lowest TSA callout rates in the country. Hines said the community support is the reason many feel like they can still go to work.

Hines: “You hate that you have to have this problem. But one of the gentleman at the TSA said they haven't seen this response since 9/11. And as a flight attendant on 9/11, I can tell you what that felt like to make sure that there were people there that cared and that you just felt appreciated. It's hard. And for all of those workers out there we know how hard it is. It's temporary. Just remember this is temporary. Let's hope.”

Cincinnati State and The Summit Restaurant is located at 3520 Central Parkway in Cincinnati.