Whole Foods Steps in to Satisfy Stomachs of Furloughed Workers

By: Evanne Armour Email
By: Evanne Armour Email

October 6, 2013

Nearly one week after a partial government shutdown, Whole Foods Market in Charlottesville is trying to help provide some comfort for those impacted.

The supermarket hosted a free spaghetti dinner for everyone -- furloughed or not -- Sunday evening.

"We thought with all the government furloughs and a lot of people in our own community who've been affected just with even the stress of it and the tentativeness of what's going to happen, we thought it would be a great time to get together as a community and have a big dinner together," said Kristen Rabourdin of Whole Foods Market.

More than 400 people lined up for spaghetti, salad, bread and some live music.

Reed Dibeler provide the entertainment for the massive meal.

By day, the musician does graphic design and web development for a government contractor.

"I'm kind of furloughed at the moment," said Dibeler. "At first it just kind of feels like, okay, a couple days off -- forced vacation -- but then you start getting antsy to get back to being productive."

While workers wait it out, Whole Foods is hoping to lend a hand using what it knows best -- food.

"Just like with your own family, everyone comes together at the table and we start breaking bread with someone and sharing your experiences and your life, it makes a big difference," said Rabourdin. "Having a big community event like this where we all sit down together, it really brings people together."

Diners also had the chance to purchase $2 slices of cake. All of that money was donated to the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville.

The Charlottesville Whole Foods Market joined others in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. which all held free dinners.

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