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Tempe restaurant offering free meals to furloughed government workers

(Yelp photo)

PHOENIX — A Tempe restaurant is looking to do its part to help residents who have been affected by the ongoing government shutdown.

RigaTony’s Authentic Italian Restaurant near Warner Road and McClintock Drive is offering a free, multi-course meal to anyone with federal identification who is out of work because of the shutdown.

Owner Mike Lopercio said he decided to offer this because he has seen how the shutdown — now in its 26th day over funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall — has caused suffering to customers who are trying to make ends meet.

“It breaks our heart. We decided to do what we can in a small way and provide a meal here and there for people who need it,” Lopercio told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday. 

“We have a history of being involved in local charitable organizations and I like to keep my staff involved in these kind of events.”

Lopercio said the restaurant “has decided to be as crazy as the government” and offer free meals to furloughed employees until the government reopens — whenever that should be.

“These are local people who haven’t gotten paychecks, they are struggling, they can’t buy groceries,” he said.

“I can’t solve the problem, but I can sure help in a small way. That’s all I can do.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report. 

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