Government shutdown: Syrian refugee’s falafel shop giving free meals to furloughed workers in Tennessee

Sarah Harvard

A Syrian refugee is expressing his support and love for the United States by offering free food to anyone affected by the government shutdown at his falafel shop in Tennessee.

Yassin Terou, who immigrated to the country from Syria in 2011, said he wanted to help his community during the trying times of the partial government shutdown.

“It’s important for me [to provide free meals] because these guys are our brothers and sisters, and they already did the work, and they aren’t getting paid,” Mr Terou, owner of Yassin’s Falfel House in Knoxville, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “For someone like me who is living the American dream in the American land ... I believe every hard worker should reach his goal and have a good level of life.”

Mr Terou’s restaurant made the announcement in a Facebook post last week stating that “we are more than happy to serve them because they [have] been serving us all [these] days and we are not going to [leave] them alone.”

The Facebook post said furloughed government employees and their children can enjoy a free meal at their restaurant. In order to receive their free meal, federal workers will just need to show their employee ID.

Mr Terou said that about 10 people have took him up on his offer so far.

His restaurant has also made earned some praise from restaurant reviewers in the area since he opened up shop in 2014. Reader’s Digests named his restaurant the “Nicest Place in America” in October.

The government shutdown, which has gone on for longer than a month, is the longest federal closure in American history. It began on December 22 after Congress failed to cough up $5.6bn in a spending bill for President Donald Trump’s steel wall on the US-Mexico border.