Government Shutdown 2013: Free food for furloughed

On the first day of the shutdown, summertime weather and an extra day off doesn’t seem so bad. But federal workers say their patience won’t last long.

“If you ask me next week, I might be a little more upset about it,” says Craig Salinger, a furloughed Office of the Director of National Intelligence worker.

To ease the frustration, there’s free food for the furloughed. You’ll find freebies like cupcakes at Sprinkles and a free burger at Z-Burger.

“It does help,” says Kisha Brown, a furloughed employee. “It really made a difference because I woke up this morning, and then when I saw the news, I saw that they were offering this. And it really makes you feel as if people understand.”

“It kind of makes the day go a little faster and takes your mind off things,” Jason Steinhauer says. “Certainly we need to eat. So, it’s nice that D.C. businesses are sort of reaching out.”

By flashing a government I.D., employees can get a free burger of their choice at some Z-Burger locations. At the Columbia Heights location, the long line formed early. By 12:30, they had already given away more than 300 burgers.

“It's kind of like the furlough charity,” Kouros Mousavi says.”

Furloughed worker Ashley Nelson says the gesture lured her out of bed this morning. But, she says, she’s getting close to the boiling point.

“I'm really frustrated, I'm annoyed,” Nelson says. “I'm tired of being a pawn in the middle of all of it.”

And soon, she won’t be anywhere near this budget battle. She says she’s already bought a ticket to visit family in Florida.

“Getting out of town. Getting away from the hysteria,” she says.

For federal workers there are a few good deals, even though it feels like Congress is giving them a raw one.