Serving up meals, support on Day 27 of the shutdown

The University of Indianapolis and Quest Food Management Services partnered to provide free meals at Books & Brews in Indianapolis for furloughed federal government workers and their immediate family members starting Jan. 17, 2019. (WTHR Photo/Mary Milz)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Thursday morning they were setting up for lunch at Books and Brews on Shelby Street. It calls itself "a place for people without a place," and right now that includes a whole lot of federal workers.

Owner Melissa Sandullo said, "we've been following the story of the government shutdown and it really spoke to our hearts."

That is, the chance to partner with the University of Indianapolis to offer a free lunch to workers and their families affected by the shutdown. UIndy and Quest Food Management Services will provide the hot meals, and Books and Brews will give them their dining space every weekday from 11:30-to-1 for as long as needed.

"I so admire the people who continue to get up every morning and do their job with no pay and if we can do a small thing to thank them, we're more than happy to do it," Sandullo said.

For more information, call (317) 788-3530.

Meanwhile, at Indianapolis International Airport the only sign of a shutdown was the shuttered TSA Precheck site. The majority of flights were on time, thanks in large part to the TSA workers and air traffic controllers continuing to do their jobs without pay.

That's why Teamsters Local 357, which represents airline pilots, showed their support by delivering lunch to the dozens of air traffic controllers working to keep the skies safe.

Capt. Josh LeBlanc, president of the pilots union said, "they're our brothers and sisters in aviation and we want them to know we appreciate them coming in."

LeBlanc said while the controllers were grateful for the lunch and support, with each passing day, they grow more concerned.

"These guys work in an already stressful job and now they have the stress of financial pressures coming in," he said. "How long can you come into a job every day where you don't get paid for it? At some point the bills pile up and you get through that savings, if you have it, and then you've got to do something else and make that hard decision."

LeBlanc said the pilots hope to provide lunch for TSA workers sometime next week.

"This affects everyone in the country," he said. "So we're all doing our part to raise awareness to get the politicians off their butts and do what needs to be done."