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LI businesses reach out with freebies to help furloughed workers

From food to coffee to haircuts, firms are offering help to federal workers going without paychecks.

Del Fiore Italian Market in Rocky Point gave

Del Fiore Italian Market in Rocky Point gave federal employees affected by the shutdown "fresh cheese ravioli, a quart of meat or marinara sauce, and a loaf of bread." Photo Credit: Del Fiore Italian Market

A string of Long Island businesses wanting to ease the pain of those affected by the government shutdown are offering freebies to furloughed employees. Many of them are announcing the specials on their company social media pages. 

Last week, family-owned Del Fiore Italian Market, a 50-year-old business in Rocky Point, offered a box of "fresh cheese ravioli, a quart of meat or marinara sauce, and a loaf of bread" to workers going without pay.

Camille Pabon, who co-owns Del Fiore along with her sister, Lorian Prince, posted a message on the business' Facebook page last Thursday night informing followers of the offer. The post was shared more than 2,000 times. 

"The response was truly overwhelming," Pabon said Friday. "It's incredible to see how many people actually need the help." 

Pabon, who said the boxes the sisters gave to furloughed employees carried $18 worth of food, said the gesture was born out of the family's desire to pay it forward. 

"When times get rough, we turn to food," she said. "For us, there's nothing like a warm plate of ravioli to help make things a little better." 

But despite the cheerful sentiment, there were some tears, Pabon said. 

Some of the people who came in were "shy and embarrassed," she said. "Others just very thankful, and some even burst into tears. It's a very difficult time for them." 

Pabon and Prince provided the food boxes through Sunday, Jan. 20. 

At Sip This coffee shop in Valley Stream, furloughed employees can sip on free coffee or tea every day for the duration of the shutdown. 

Sip This co-owners Stephanie Pontilla and David Sabatino said they wanted to do something special to show their support to the unpaid workers. 

"We're so close to the airport [JFK] and know many of those affected by the shutdown may be in this area so we wanted to do something nice for them," said Pontilla, adding that about a dozen employees had come in for the free treat. 

"Most have walked in shy," she said. "But left thankful." 

Other businesses offering freebies to furloughed workers include Tanger Outlets, with locations in Deer Park and Riverhead, where affected employees who show ID can obtain a $20 mall gift card through Jan. 28.

More freebies for federal workers

Here are some other businesses on Long Island offering promotions for furloughed federal employees with a valid government I.D. Some places also require proof that you are not being paid during the shutdown. (Call ahead to check the rules and to make sure the promotion is still available.)

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