WESTFIELD, NJ – A local pizzeria owner is helping to take the sting out of the partial government shutdown that has stopped federal workers’ pay.

Outta Hand pizzeria owner Burim Regjaj said Monday that after reaching out with an offer on social media, he has provided five families impacted by the shutdown with meals.

“This is the first week that they didn’t get paid so now the struggle is really hitting hard at home,” Regjaj said.

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Regjaj said he is providing families up to two meals per week per family. The government shutdown, which is in its third week, stopped pay for federal employees.

“I know that providing families up to two meals per week is not going to solve the problems,” he said. “But I also know that if other businesses see this, they will try to help out and pitch in.”

So the workers do not violate rules prohibiting federal employees from accepting gifts, Regjaj said, he charges just $1 for each meal.

While the reasons for the shutdown are political, for Regjaj, helping out is just about giving back to the people he serves.

Giving back is something he has done before, including with an initiative held for veterans and a pizza-making afternoon for youths with special needs and their families.

“Having a business in a community makes you a part of the community,” Regjaj said. “I strongly believe it’s only fair to give back to the community.”